Wits vice chancellor tweets his shock over violent protests

2016-09-21 15:17
Adam Habib (Adam Areff, News24)

Adam Habib (Adam Areff, News24)

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Johannesburg - Both student leaders and Vice Chancellor Adam Habib have taken to social media to publicise their positions on the current fee protests at the institution.

Habib, who is in New York for the launch of the United Nation's HeForShe campaign, tweeted his thoughts on the violence that broke out at the institution on Tuesday.

"I left before the fee announcement and it's been difficult watching events from afar, despite my continuous contact with the team at Wits," Habib tweeted.

Students and private security threw rocks at each other outside the Great Hall at the Braamfontein campus.

Students had been protesting since the beginning of the week when Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande announced his proposal for study fee adjustments.

"The violence was shocking. The breakdown in the discipline of the private security must be condemned and will be investigated," tweeted Habib.

He also called for the criticism of the intimidation and violence by some students, claiming too many students and staff had been threatened over the past few days. 

'Militarisation' of campuses

Habib also expressed concern over how "easy" it has been for the movement to resort to violence and asked about the way forward.

"If threat of violence remains, we cannot but close universities in which all lose," he tweeted.

The SRC, which has been mobilising students and holding mass meetings throughout Wednesday, also took to Twitter to reiterate its demands.

Through several numbered tweets, it rejected the "militarisation" of campuses by police and what it called untrained private security that wasted university resources.

The student body, which said it remained committed to serving students, also accused the institution's management of trying to divide the student population.

"We urge our students to remain non-violent and peaceful throughout this trying time," the SRC tweeted. 

The SRC also said it would be arranging tutorial sessions for students at the university so they didn't fall behind with their academic obligations.

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