Wits council will not address students on Monday

2015-10-19 15:26
(Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

(Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

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Johannesburg - The Witwatersrand University council would not address protesting students on Monday, saying students had gone against the "spirit" of an agreement reached with the institution on Saturday.

"Representatives of the council were ready to address students at noon on Monday,"  the council said in a statement.

"The condition was that the council representatives would have a fair chance to report. In anticipation of large numbers of students, and for health and safety reasons, council informed the Wits Student Representative Council that this would happen on the piazza outside the Great Hall."

While the council had spent a full day developing its response for Monday, the "storming of Senate House on Monday morning" ran contrary to the spirit of the agreement reached with students on Saturday.

As such, the council was no longer in a position to report back in person, nor would it engage with students at Senate House. 

It had instructed the university's executive management to clear and secure the building by 15:00 on Monday.

Staff and students had been asked to leave the building immediately. 

The council, instead shared its response electronically on its website

"Council and executive management of the university remain committed to resolving the fee issue and to getting the academic project on track as soon as possible," it said.

"This can only happen under safe conditions that are conducive to the academic project."

It indicated that it would make a decision on 2016 fee increases, which were set at 10.5% prior to protests beginning last week, next month.

Students, who had gathered since Monday morning in anticipation of council's response, refused to leave the building and vowed to sleep there as they had demanded a response on Monday. 

Academic staff and cleaners were also present, showing their support, holding placards that read, "We stand with students".

Read more on:    wits university  |  johannesburg  |  university fees

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