On Friday night, after three days of protesting, the Wits University Executive Council (Exco), addressed students in a tense meeting, a first of its kind for the university.
For the past three days students have been protesting against a fee hike.
“This is not a protest, this is a total shut down.”
These were the words of former Wits SRC president Mcebo Dlamini on the first day of the #WitsFeesMustFall protest this week. On Wednesday, when the protest began, entrances to the university were blocked and people weren’t allowed to enter or leave the campus.
By Friday morning, three days after the protest over a 10.5 % hike in fees began, Wits Vice Chancellor Adam Habib, was due to address the students.
“Many students won’t be able to get their results because they can’t afford to pay,” said Mukhraar Osman, 19, a biomedical engineering student.
SRC President Nompendulo Mkhatshwa said, “My younger sisters want to come to this institution but I know for a fact my parents will not be able to afford three R9000s just to register.”
According to the Wits website, next year all students will be required to pay R9900 before registration in order to gain access to the university. Habib also came under attack with students calling for his removal.
“The institution under Habib is anti-black,” said Dlamini.
In an earlier statement, Chief Financial officer Linda Jarvis explained that the increases were necessary because of a 22 percent fall in the currency against the dollar and academic staff are set to have their salary increased by 7 percent. The declining government subsidies would not be enough to cover these expenses said Jarvis at the time.
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