Wits SRC president Aphiwe Mnyamana suspended after students take protest to VC’s house

Wits SRC president Aphiwe Mnyamana. Picture: Twitter

Wits SRC president Aphiwe Mnyamana. Picture: Twitter

Published Mar 7, 2023


Pretoria - Wits SRC president Aphiwe Mnyamana was on Monday suspended from the institution following a week of protests over financial exclusion and accommodation issues.

Mnyamana announced his suspension on Twitter and said he was waiting for instructions from his legal advisor, Advocate Dali Mpofu.

“We will respond duly however the peaceful protest will continue with or without me,” he wrote on his Twitter account.

Mnyamana’s suspension comes after striking students on Sunday marched to the house of the university’s vice-chancellor, Zeblon Vilakazi, and demonstrated outside it in a bid to put pressure on the university to meet their demands.

The students started protesting on Tuesday last week and have continued amid threats of legal action by the university.

In a recent update to the students, Mnyamana said they had approached Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi and other officials, including the minister of higher education, to intervene in the matter to resolve the impasse.

“The senior executive team deferred the meeting to tomorrow as they are of the view that students can afford to sleep in labs, libraries and campus bathrooms for another day…

"To this, the SRC remains even more determined to seeing the realization of all demands sought by the student body. Our enemy is resolute in the arrogance, we will meet them with the full force of student activism as ours is a just cause,“ he said in a statement.

Earlier, students rejected some of the concessions made by the university, with SRC member Thato Lebitso saying these were minor and did not make a significant difference to the plight of students, who were still without accommodation and had yet to be registered weeks into the academic year.

The university also confirmed his suspension, saying he had been suspended for failing to appear at a suspension hearing, despite having been provided with ample opportunity to make representations.

“The allegations against him are of a serious nature and relate to conduct that infringed on the rights of others, resulted in damage to property, and the intimidation of members of the University community, amongst other things.

“He will not be allowed to access any of Wits’ precincts, participate in University activities and engage in conduct which constitutes "student privileges", and will not be allowed to stay in Wits’ residences until the legal process is finalised.

“We will allow the legal process to now take its course,” said Wits University spokesperson Shirona Patel.