Nzimande has not instructed me to shut Wits down - Habib

2016-10-07 18:30
Wits Vice Chancellor Adam Habib and Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Wits Vice Chancellor Adam Habib and Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - University of Witwatersrand Vice Chancellor Adam Habib has denied receiving any pressure from Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande or his officials about closing down the institution.

"No, I haven’t been instructed by the minister. They recognise that this decision is to be made by the council," Habib told reporters on Friday morning, shortly after announcing that the highly anticipated general assembly expected on campus, had been postponed.

He said the last time he had seen Nzimande was at the higher education summit earlier in the week, and that the two had merely exchanged a "Howzit bru" shortly before Habib left the meeting.

The only other time Habib had interacted with department officials was during meetings, in an attempt to find solutions to the students’ call for free higher education.

"Yes, we have had conversations, yes we explored multiple options," Habib said. But he reiterated that the department did not play a role in deciding whether Wits closed its operations or not.

Free higher education

The university’s management announced, just before 09:00, that it had decided to postpone the highly anticipated general assembly after it failed to reach consensus on three factors.

This was after all affected stakeholders had stayed up until the early hours of the morning discussing, negotiating and preparing for the assembly.

Reports surfaced shortly after the announcement that the university was under heavy pressure from Nzimande to shut down, based on intelligence Wits had received from the department.

Habib has maintained that the reason for the postponement was based on the parties failing to agree to the resumption of lectures on Monday, the format of the general assembly, and the call by students that Wits and all other institutions be shut down until government agreed to free higher education.

Habib said he believed that the majority of the student body wanted to return to class, but that there was a "small group" of students who were not being pragmatic.

"They have a noble cause, but they need to practice give and take. They should not sacrifice the 2016 academic year just for the cause," he said.

"I believe what we need to do is try and resolve the challenge. Think through short and medium plans [because] you cannot get everything immediately.

"Unfortunately, we are not getting all sides singing from the same hymn sheet," Habib said.

WATCH the video:

Read more on:    wits  |  university fees  |  university protests
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 

Matric Results are coming soon!

Notify me when results become available

/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.