Failed interdict sees #WitsPoll go ahead

Johannesburg - Wits University held a poll on the resumption of classes on Thursday morning after a court bid to stop it failed.

Protesting students represented by advocate Dali Mpofu approached the High Court in Johannesburg on Wednesday but were unsuccessful in obtaining an interdict.

According to the institution, the poll is aimed at hearing the voices of staff and students. Management had received hundreds of emails asking for its academic programme to resume.

At 07:00, Wits sent an SMS to students asking them if they wanted the academic programme to continue next week if appropriate security measures were in place. 

Staff was sent a link to a website on which they could respond.

“All students and staff should use this opportunity to have their voices heard. The poll is anonymous and will be verified by a leading auditing company,” said Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel.

If the majority give their approval for the reopening, Wits would call on government and the police to meet their obligations to protect the university’s property and to safeguard the lives of students and staff. 

The poll results would be announced on Friday. All activities would remain suspended until then.

Students started protesting last Monday, after Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande announced that universities could increase fees by up to 8% for 2017. 

Poor student and students in the “missing middle” would not be affected.


Students and private security guards clash on the Wits campus during protests. (Leon Sadiki, City Press)

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