Wits students have 'chosen a cause they are willing to die for'

2016-10-10 09:34
Police attempt to arrest activist Mcebo Dlamini on the Wits campus during protests. (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

Police attempt to arrest activist Mcebo Dlamini on the Wits campus during protests. (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg – If it comes to it, students will continue to disrupt classes, Wits University's incoming SRC president Kefentse Mkhari said.

Several students have gathered amid heavy security on the Braamfontein campus to demonstrate, this as the university attempts to resume its academic programme.

"Students say they are not willing to go back to class, they have chosen a cause they are willing to die for," said Mkhari.

He told journalists at the piazza outside the Great Hall that the institution has refused to meet students halfway. He said calls for concession went unanswered.

"They [the university] refused when we tried so hard to have concessions."

'Militarised institution'

Mkhari said students felt ignored by management, and the university's vice chancellor Adam Habib had chosen the violent route by insisting on resuming classes under the watchful eyes of police and private security.

"We cannot teach in a militarised institution."

Lecturers also met earlier to discuss the way forward, with many raising concerns over the presence of police at the university.

"We are seeing more police on campus than the other day, including K-9 units, so we are not feeling hopeful," said social sciences lecturer Kelly Gillespie.

Some of the academics were also sporting blue ribbons in support of mediation.

"We don't feel that campus should open under these conditions. [We] understand that the academic year should continue, but not under conditions of militarisation," she said.

Read more on:    wits  |  johannesburg  |  university fees  |  university protests

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