Wits University has been given twenty four hours to allow students without funding to register or face the prospect of disruptions.
Members of the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA), South African Student Organisation (SASCO) and the Young Communist League (YCL) today handed a memorandum over to the dean of students, Dr Pamela Dube in the Senate House concourse. The group is demanding that Wits management “admit students now and solve the issues later”.
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Justice Mokotedi, chair of the Young Communist League at Wits, said protesting students would make the university “ungovernable” if their demands were not met on time.
“There will be no Sunday,” he said referring to the start of the Orientation Week programme starting this weekend.
“We have been sitting in meeting after meeting drinking coffee, our caffeine levels are high but we are tired. Sick and tired! We want answers!”
He also accused management and vice chancellor Prof Adam Habib of being on a retreat while the protest was taking place.
“As this is happening and we are protesting for student rights, our VC is enjoying wine and whiskey on a retreat! We give Pamela this memorandum unapologetically.”
SRC (Student Representative Council), secretary general, Senzekahle Mbokazi, said students are protesting because “we cannot understand why there is so much confusion” between Wits and the Department of Higher Education.
Mbokazi said the SRC had been to speak to both the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and Wits.
“NSFAS claims that Wits is mismanaging funds and Wits is saying they were not allocated enough money. In the meantime 2788 students are being held to ransom. More pressure needs to be put on the university,” she said.
As the march progressed throughout the day, protestors blocked the university’s central Yale Road to vent their frustrations.
“We will block campus roads,” said SASCO chairperson Nthabiseng Molefe as she addressed the crowd. “We will show management that we are in control!”