Wits ‘under new management’
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Johannesburg - 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.
University spokeswoman Shirona Patel told reporters that the meeting was adjourned without any decisions being taken, and that it would resume on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, another group of students demanded that they be allowed to sit for examinations and picketed outside the Great Hall.
A student had the words “Bring Back Our Exams” written on the back of his white T-shirt.
Students at the institution were divided over whether they should continue with the protest or postpone it and prepare for examinations.
“The problem is we have allowed politics to come into the #FeesMustFall movement … it is being hijacked. We are saying let us write examinations, get it done with and then map the way forward after we’re done,” said one of the students.
Lengthy meetings were held on Saturday and Sunday, with students not agreeing on how to proceed with the campaign that started at their institution two weeks ago.
Student leaders imposed a media blackout. They refused to update reporters on developments at the campus.
Most university campuses around the country had decided to continue 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.
They are demanding free education for all and that universities stop the outsourcing of staff and services.