Protesting will not resolve issues, says Wits



Published Mar 7, 2023


Pretoria - Wits University spokesperson Shirona Patel has discouraged the protest by students saying it will not yield any results, but only a dialogue will work to resolve the impasse.

Patel was speaking on Tuesday during an interview with the SABC.

Her interview comes after students have vowed to continue their protest until their demands against academic exclusion are met and they have continued their protest amid threats of legal action by the university.

“The only way to resolve this is through talking and dialogue, no amount of security and protest will resolve the issue,” she said.

Patel also dismissed claims by students that the university’s vice-chancellor, Zeblon Vilakazi, doesn’t want to meet the premier of Gauteng Panyaza Lesufi to resolve the issue amicably.

“The VC was willing to meet with the premier but the premier cancelled the meeting as he had to go address the community of Westbury.... They agreed to meet after clearing their diaries.”

Regarding the suspension of the university’s Student Representative Council (SRC) president, Aphiwe Mnyamana, and other five students, Patel said they were given an opportunity to make representations but failed hence they were suspended.

However, the other five students came on Monday and asked to be given a chance to make those representations and they were allowed to do that on Tuesday.

“We are not out to get them, we are reasonable,” she told the broadcaster.

Patel also denied claims that they have threatened Mnyamana or posed a risk to him, instead, he is the one who is on campus when he supposed not to be there.

“He breached his suspension order by sneaking onto campus in a car driven by someone else. He has been requested to leave. This will be taken into consideration when the disciplinary hearings take place.

“We are not out to get him, we don’t have anything on his life, he has no reason to be on campus and we have no reason to be out to get him,” Patel said.

Meanwhile, the SRC has rubbished claims that Mnyamana failed to make representations explaining why he should not be suspended.

“The only issue which impeded him from attending physically was because he was not around Braamfontein or Campus in which the meeting was scheduled to take place and could not attend online either as the place in which he was had poor network coverage for an MS Teams meeting.

“The president further made an extension to request to appear on Tuesday and if not then latest on Wednesday but still, the university, despite all these issues, overlooked his request and served him with a suspension order at about 17:31 on March 6,” the SRC said.