Tuesday, 11 October 2016 10:38

University of Witwatersrand open despite recent violent protests

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The University of Witwatersrand has opened its doors, despite the disruption of classes and the chaotic scenes that were seen on Monday.

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With a heavy police presence, the university is adamant that the academic programme will continue, despite the escalation in violent protests.

Meanwhile, the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) has extended its shut down at all its campuses until Wednesday. The institution closed its doors two weeks ago, due to the ongoing protests.

The University of Pretoria was expected to open today, however academic activities at the university remain suspended after students disrupted faculty meetings yesterday. The University of Pretoria faces a possible all-week shutdown this week.

Stellenbosch University said it will not allow campus protests to derail the academic program. The university remains open this week despite disruptions and clashes between students, police and security.

The university yesterday called in additional private security and police and will do so again today. Despite additional security measures and access control to buildings, some lectures were called off yesterday.

Meanwhile, the University of Cape Town (UCT) has announced it will remain closed today. The institution said it has been engaging with the Student Representative Council (SRC) on the way forward.

The university management at the Westville campus in Durban released a statement saying academic programmes have been suspended for the day in an attempt to restore calm at the institution.

It has also obtained a court interdict preventing students from taking part in any unlawful protests and has warned that those involved in those protests will be arrested.

Students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Howard College campus are continuing with protests, forcing the university to suspend the academic programme.

Meanwhile, Higher Education and Training Minister Dr Blade Nzimande has condemned the disruption of classes and the chaotic scenes witnessed at the University of Witwatersrand.

“The university’s attempts to continue with the academic programme are being held at ransom by irresponsible and disrespectful striking students who intent upon disrupting classes at the university.

“This is a critical time for the academic programme with examinations fast approaching, therefore it is of paramount importance for classes and lectures to resume without delay. We strongly condemn the actions of a few striking students who clearly don’t want to see the completion of the 2016 academic programme,” said the Minister on Monday.

The Minister and the department called on the university management to do everything in their power to ensure that the academic programme is successfully resumed.

The Minister said law enforcement agencies will continue to act and that the law must take its course against those who have been found to have committed any crimes.

“There has been intimidation and destruction of property including violence which will not be tolerated. We call upon students not to allow any form of manipulation which may be intended to undermine their legitimate demands.”

Minister Nzimande reiterated a call to parents, vice chancellors, members of council, traditional and religious leaders, trade unions and business leaders, student leaders, including convocations and alumni, working with the department, to be part of the solution and play their role.

Students have been protesting over the 2017 fee increment which was announced by Minister Nzimande recently. He announced that universities would decide on their increases individually but that the fees should not increase by more than 8%.

Last modified on Tuesday, 11 October 2016 10:48