Wits student protest continues as final registration day looms

2019-02-07 18:26

Hundreds of students at the University of the Witwatersrand were not deterred by the rain on Thursday as they continued their protest outside the Great Hall on the main campus.

The student representative council (SRC) shut down all operations at the institution on Wednesday when demonstrators disrupted classes and teaching.

There was an anxious moment when students tried to force their way inside the hall as it started to rain and they were met by private security guards.

When the guards blocked the crowds from entering, several demonstrators threw stones at them, which led to them calling for back up from police who were nearby.

When police intervened the protesters dispersed but later gathered again.

Earlier, SRC president Sisanda Aluta Mbolekwa addressed the crowd and told students that the institution's management team was in a meeting and would return to respond to their demands later in the day.

READ: Wits closes entrances as student injured in UJ, Wits protests

While some students left others stayed behind, saying it was important that they got feedback from management as Friday was the last day for registration.

"We need to fight for this because tomorrow (Friday) is the last day of registration, hence we are putting so much pressure. If students can't register by tomorrow it's over for them this year," said Zikhona Maloyi, who was wearing an EFF T-shirt.

Maloyi said while she had been lucky to register through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, and also secure accommodation, many of her friends slept in labs or sought refuge at Park Station nearby.

She said the situation regarding fees and accommodation at the institution was frustrating, especially for those students who knew that their parents could not afford to pay for their tuition and accommodation.

"When you can't come to school because your parents don't have the money, and you know there is no way they can raise R120 000 to R150 000, it really affects you," Maloyi said.

ALSO READ: Wits management investigating scuffle between protesters, private security

Second-year electrical engineering student Nimrod Teisho said he was frustrated because he didn't have a place to stay.

"Every day I am sleeping in a lab, I don't have accommodation, my funding has not come through and at 08:00 I need to go to class," Teisho said.

He added the students would continue protesting but were not going to damage any property.

Maloyi said she had been part of the crowd that blocked the university's entrances on Thursday morning. She claimed the police had fired teargas at the protesters.

"I was there when they opened fire. It is very terrifying when your own fellow black men open fire on you just because you want an education that they themselves cannot afford for their own children," said Maloyi.

By 16:30 operations were at a standstill as students camped outside Solomon Mahlangu House waiting on management to address them.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    wits university  |  university protests  |  higher education
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
/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.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.