Release Date: 10 October, 2016
WITS REMAINS OPEN ON TUESDAY 11 OCTOBER 2016
Dear Students and Colleagues
It has been a difficult day for students and staff at Wits today, with classes on all campuses disrupted from mid-morning to mid-afternoon.
Following the disruption of some lectures, protestors 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 protestors ran into Braamfontein, where we have heard that a bus was set alight and people were injured through skirmishes with the police.
Despite these challenges, the Deans have confirmed that just over half of all lectures went ahead today across campuses. The operational control of the security is in the hands of the police and they have agreed to deploy resources on a building by building basis tomorrow. 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.
Please note that the Yale Road North and Yale Road South will be open tomorrow morning. The Enoch Sontonga gate will be closed. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
We reiterate that we have met with some student leaders privately and we are 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. We are also open to an imbizo provided that it doesn’t fall into teaching time, it is facilitated independently, it allows for two way conversation and is 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.
Wits has pledged its support for the goal of free, fully funded, quality, decolonised higher education. We pledge to approach government with a united voice for the realisation of this goal. We pledge to deploy our intellectual resources towards finding the best solutions. We are also prepared to support peaceful advocacy activities in this regard. Read the full pledge.
We have a strenuous week ahead but we are determined to get the full academic programme back on track.
SENIOR EXECUTIVE TEAM
10 OCTOBER 2016 (18:00)