Wits to reopen, with heavy security - Habib

2016-10-03 21:57
Adam Habib (Adam Areff, News24)

Adam Habib (Adam Areff, News24)

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Johannesburg – Police and a full security contingent will be on all Wits University campuses on Tuesday as lectures resume.

“It is not ideal to attend classes with police at the doors of learning, but I am left with no choice,” vice chancellor Adam Habib said in a statement on Monday.

The full security presence was due to the harassment of some staff on Monday. He apologised to staff members who were intimidated, threatened, and forced to leave their offices earlier in the day.

Following a meeting, about 500 protesting students broke into splinter groups and went through buildings forcing some staff to leave offices and laboratories. Security guards however managed to contain a large group.

No mass meeting would be allowed in Solomon Mahlangu (Senate) House. Anyone caught contravening any university rule or court interdict, or infringing on the rights of others, risked facing criminal charges.

“If we do not get this right tomorrow, we have no choice but to close the university, which will compromise the 2016 academic programme and the lives of all 37 000 students," Habib said.

Last Thursday, the university conducted a poll asking students if they wanted to resume classes on Monday.

Out of 21 730 votes cast, 16 739 (77%) said yes. The rest, 4991 (23%), said they wanted the university to remain closed.

On Sunday, the university revealed the preliminary results of the poll conducted among staff via email. Out of 2200 responses, 91% were in favour of reopening on Monday, while 8% preferred not to reopen. About 1% of those who responded did so with a blank email.

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

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