File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko
File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko

Wits quiet as lectures continue

By African News Agency Time of article published Oct 13, 2016

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Johannesburg - The troubled University of the Witwatersrand, which has been plagued by student protests for free education, was quiet on Thursday morning with police monitoring the institution as lectures continued.

Spokeswoman Shirona Patel said attendance had improved compared to the past few days.

“Classes are almost full, we have a better turnout today … class attendance is generally a good one.”

The university announced on Wednesday that students owing tuition fees would not be barred from writing final year examinations.

Protests, which are in the third week, have disrupted the academic programme at Wits.

Last week the Wits Senate approved a two-week extension to the academic calendar.

As things stand, Wits term ends on October 31, with a study break between November 1 and 2. Examinations were expected to run from November 3 to 30. Some graduation ceremonies for 2016 have been rescheduled.

The university said academic activities would continue despite ongoing #FeesMusFall protests, which are also affecting other state universities across the country.

Wits management said it supported free quality higher education, but that lectures should continue to salvage the remainder of 2016 academic year.

Police were stationed in front of the Great Hall on Thursday with private security personnel manning the entrance. Earlier in the week there were violent clashes between protesting students, police and private security guards.

On Wednesday petrol bombs were found on campus and some of the institution’s buildings were flooded.

Meanwhile, protesting students held a mass meeting at the Solomon Mahlangu House on campus on Wednesday. The students said they would continue protesting until their demands were met. Another meeting was planned outside the Great Hall for Thursday. African News Agency

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