Wits determined to 'get full academic programme back on track'

2016-10-10 20:31
Wits University was brought a standstill this week after the announcement of an increase in tuition fees for the 2016 study year. Students at the university were protesting against the fee hikes and boycotted classes. Picture: ELIZABETH SEJAKE

Wits University was brought a standstill this week after the announcement of an increase in tuition fees for the 2016 study year. Students at the university were protesting against the fee hikes and boycotted classes. Picture: ELIZABETH SEJAKE

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Johannesburg – Despite violent clashes between authorities and protesters on Monday, the Wits University senior executive team says it will continue with its academic programme.

"We have a strenuous week ahead but we are determined to get the full academic programme back on track," it said in a statement.

Following the disruption of some lectures, protesters gathered in front of the Great Hall and threw rocks at private security.

The police responded and dispersed the crowd using teargas, stun grenades and water cannons. The protesters ran into Braamfontein, where a bus was set alight amid skirmishes with police.

The university said that despite violence many classes continued at the institution.

"Despite these challenges, the deans have confirmed that just over half of all lectures went ahead today across campuses."

The university said the operational control of the security was "in the hands of the police and they have agreed to deploy resources on a building by building basis tomorrow".

Free education 'beyond our control'

"The national commissioner has advised that there is a clear strategy to arrest any individual involved in criminal activity. At least eleven arrests were made by the police today."

According to the university, it met with some student leaders privately and would be "open to engaging with students from all societies and mediators to try to find a negotiated settlement".

"The dean of students invited 20 student representatives to meet with management today, but the students did not take the offer."

The university said it was also open to an imbizo provided it didn't clash with teaching time, was facilitated independently, allowed for two-way conversation and was planned in advance.

"We are happy to address all internal issues as described earlier but it is beyond our control to give students free education now."

It added that its Yale Road North and Yale Road South would be open on Tuesday. The Enoch Sontonga gate will however be closed. 

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