Wits University vice-chancellor Professor Adam Habib. File picture: Adrian de Kock
Wits University vice-chancellor Professor Adam Habib. File picture: Adrian de Kock

Wits fees gripe ‘legitimate’, says Habib

By Viasen Soobramoney Time of article published Oct 15, 2015

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Durban - Wits University vice-chancellor Professor Adam Habib believes that students have a legitimate gripe over the fee increase at the institution.

However, he warned that protesting students would not be allowed to violate the rights of others wanting to learn.

Habib is in Durban attending the Higher Education Summit.

Fees at Wits are expected to go up by 10.5 percent from next year due to declining government subsidies.

"The increase in fees is onerous and students have a legitimate concern on that but we are caught in a bind. Utility bills have gone up and that means research equipment has also gone up so we are really in a bind. But that does not entitle students to impose on the rights of others," said Habib.

He said that the university’s management was part of the presidential task team looking into resolving the impasse between students and the institution.

On Wednesday hundreds of students blocked entrances to the university’s campus in protest against the planned increase in fees.

Habib said he expected lectures to continue as normal on Thursday.

“Everything should be normal but we have had reports of groups of students mobilising so we will see how that develops. We are monitoring the situation closely," he said.

Habib was also questioned around the emergence of a video that surfaced on Twitter on Wednesday night allegedly showing students being forcibly removed by police at one of the campus's entrances.

@Cesc_lukuko: Damn " @Jika_Uthi: WOW :( RT @ThisIsSebzee: Students assaulted at Wits #WitsFeeMustFall pic.twitter.com/AFOXb5uzrw"”

— Trey (@treyzim) October 15, 2015

"I haven't seen the video but I do know that we had to move students last night. We had people and staff that were in their offices that could not leave. We are not going to keep them there until 9 at night. A lot of them were becoming frustrated because they had prior commitments," he said.


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