Wits vc snubs students

2009-09-15 14:14

WITS university vice-chancellor Professor Loyiso Nongxa refused to

accept a memorandum of grievances during a student protest.

About 500 students had gathered at the university’s senate house to

protest 2010 fee increases averaging between nine percent and 15%, denial of

access to the library and the computer laboratory to students in arrears and

planned academic exclusion of 2000 first year students.

They had gathered under the banner of Progressive Youth Alliance.

Young Communist League’s Wits branch secretary Ngoako Matsha read

the memorandum out loud.

“I hope those mafias at the back are listening. We reject with

utter arrogance the proposed increases,” he said while referring to university


When it became apparent that the deputy vice chancellor of academic

would receive the memorandum instead of Nongxa, students chanted him down.

“Who are you,” they asked.

About 10 minutes later Nongxa showed up, but refused to walk

through a maze of sitting students to go up the stairs to the student leadership

to receive the memorandum.

He asked the leadership to bring the memorandum to him, but they

refused. After about 15 minutes of waiting, Nongxa then left.

However, Matsha asked the students to behave as the protest action

was continuing the next day.

Law student Nhlanhla Sibanda described the hardship he was

experiencing since his student card was “blocked” two weeks ago.

“I owe a mere R2500, but my student card was blocked. I have no

access to the library and the computer laboratory. All these things mean that I

can’t do research for my assignments or even type them, yet I’m expected to

attend lectures and do well in exams that are four weeks away,” lamented


Bachelor of Arts student who identified herself only as Karabo said

Wits’ fees were so expensive that funders no longer gave the institution’s

students bursary, but opted for the University of Johannesburg.

In a statement issued by the university, Nongxa criticised students

for intimidation and class disruptions. He promised swift disciplinary action

against those found.

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