Johannesburg - Wits University management have proposed a nine-point plan as students continued protests at the institution on Monday.
Wits vice chancellor Professor Adam Habib said that the senior executive team had met on Monday and committed “to implementing the following measures in order to get the academic programme back on track”.
1. There will be no increase in fees for 2016. This means that academic, residence and any other fees will not be increased. The Presidency has agreed to underwrite the cost of this, provided that the university makes some contribution.
2. The university is prepared to address the increase in the upfront fee payment.
3. The university recognises that the protests have adversely affected the ability of students to write their examinations. It therefore commits to restructuring the academic programme and examination timetable.
4. The university recognises that outsourcing is an exploitative practice. The university commits to establishing its own internal commission. This is in addition to the President’s commission. The internal commission will be chaired by the Chairperson of Council and will comprise the Chairperson of Finco and representatives from all stakeholders, including students, unions and others. It may also include an independent expert. This commission will investigate the effects of outsourcing services on the university, the cost structures associated with insourcing and possible alternative models.
5. The university undertakes to find financial resources to support the children of all workers employed in currently outsourced services, provided that these children qualify for admission to the university.
6. There will be no disciplinary processes against students who were involved in legitimate forms of protest.
7. The university commits to drawing up a workers’ charter.
8. The university agrees, in principle, to make every effort to resolve any other outstanding issue that the students may want to address in good faith.
9. Should the students agree to these measures, the University will commit to calling a general assembly.
Habib said the academic programme “must resume” on Tuesday
On Monday most university campuses around the country continued with protests, despite an announcement by President Jacob Zuma on Friday to put a moratorium on 2016 fee hikes.
The students argued that only one of their several demands was agreed to - no fees hikes - following a march to the Union Buildings on Friday.
A Witwatersrand University Senate meeting was adjourned after protesting students occupied the venue on Monday.
The special meeting of Senate, the highest academic decision-making body of the university, was supposed to convened to deliberate on the ongoing protests and to decide on the resumption of the academic programme.
“This university is under new management now, it is the students that are in charge … this is the struggle we will fight until we win,” said student leader Vuyani Pambo, who is also the Wits EFF chairman.
The students had earlier held their own meeting at the Senate House - that they have renamed Solomon House - to come up with a strategy for their renewed #FeesMustFall movement.
They then moved to the university Senate meeting which had been underway since the morning and continued with discussions there.
IOL and ANA
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