IMG_6134

A Wits student and audience member get into a physical altercation at transformation panel hosted by the Wits Faculty of Health Sciences on Thursday night. Photo: Nokuthula Zwane

A physical altercation between a suspended Wits student and an audience member was just one of the many disruptions at a discussion about transformation at Wits University last night.

The discussion hosted by the Faculty of Health Sciences for their annual Ethics Alive Symposium included the Vice-Chancellors Adam Habib (Wits University), Max Price (University of Cape Town – UCT), Dan Kgwadi (North West University – NWU) and Mvuyo Tom (University of Fort Hare), along with struggle veteran and Wits alumnus George Bizos. Suspended student, Zama Mthunzi, who came into the venue wearing a t-shirt that read: Habib, Price kill Black lives,” was later removed by private security guards.

The unidentified man that he got into an altercation with was not removed leading to calls for his eviction from some remaining students who proceeded to interrupt the presentations of the speakers. 

IMG_6121

T-shirt says it all: During Prof. Kgwadi’s talk Wits student stands up and raises concerns

Habib then intervened and told the audience that “nobody is going anywhere”, and if the students could not let the speakers finish then they could leave.

Matters further escalated when another member in the audience said to the students “if you don’t want to be here then f**k off.”

In a statement released earlier today, Wits University confirmed that a suspended student had been “escorted off the campus.” Furthermore, the student was “reported to the police for violating a court order”. An audience member, who identified herself as an alumni of the university raised her concerns about the caustic relationship between the students, the vice chancellor and administration. “This policing of students, security and private militarisation is heart-breaking and only aggravates the relationship between the students and this administration,” she said.

Medical student, Nyabinghi Ngobeni, reminded Habib that last night’s event was the first time since last year’s protests that he has met with the students. “It’s disrespectful,” she said because the event should have been a student platform and everyone else there should have be disregarded.”

The gathering eventually concluded with an address by Wits alumnus and struggle stalwart Advocate George Bizos.