SRC members talk to Adam Habib about charges against them being dropped.

Charges stay: SRC members Joy Phiri, Justice Nkomo and Tasneem Essop talk to incoming vice chancellor, Adam Habib, about charges against them and eight others being dropped. Photo: Mia Swart

THE WITS vice chancellor’s office has decided that charges against 11 students, including nine SRC members, will not be dropped.

Incoming vice chancellor, Adam Habib, made the statement after the SRC spent the past week promoting their “Right2Protest” campaign in various national media platforms. According to Habib, the case will be postponed from May13 to July 16 at the request of the charged students so they can concentrate on their exams.

The students were charged for a possible contravention of the university’s codes of conduct after they disrupted a concert by an Israeli pianist during a protest for Israel Apartheid Week in March.

SRC president Sibulele Mgudlwa said they were disappointed the “bogus” charges against them were not dropped but were still prepared to fight them.

“We are preparing a strong legal strategy to answer to the charges.”[pullquote align=”right”]”Last year the students defended the workers. This year the workers will defend the students”[/pullquote],”

Mgudlwa said they were happy with the decision to postpone: “It will allow us to focus on exams and make our case stronger.”

Right2Protest campaign still on

Mgudlwa added that the Right2Protest campaign will not be cancelled despite Habib’s declaration that the charges would stand.

On Monday, the Wits workers solidarity committee (WWSC) organised a demonstration to pledge their support of the charged students and to the Right2Protest campaign:

“Last year the students defended the workers. This year the workers will defend the students,” said WWSC representative, Matthew Bodiba.

Mboyiseni Ndlozi, one of the charged students, addressed the workers at the demonstration and said:  “If they [Wits] do not drop the charges they are cowards.”

Habib said that the rest of the decision making would happen in the course of the disciplinary process that has been established.

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