New security systems at Wits

14_Private security (2)

Tightened security: In this file photo taken earlier this year, the university deployed private security alongside Campus Control at key university entrances.                                                                                                              Photo : Michelle Gumede

Private security deployed at Wits is a temporary solution and will last only if the violence affecting students, staff and university property persists, says the deputy vice chancellor for advancement, human resources and transformation, said Prof Tawana Kupe.

This follows last week’s Fees Must Fall protest on Monday which led to the disruption of classes and a torched lecture hall. The university has put new security systems in place to curb “unlawful” activities. These include deploying private security at key points outside lecture halls, test venues and residences.

SRC deputy president Motheo Brodie said the SRC has always been against having private security on campus due to the fact that a university is a learning place for students. But he added that “due to the unfortunate incidents” of vandalism at Wits, private security was necessary.

Brodie said the SRC is requesting that private security be respectful of the fact that “Wits is an academic institution and they need to treat students and staff as such.”

The university is reviewing all CCTV footage from the day of the protest to identify those who started the fire at Umthombo Building and anyone involved in activities which are in violation of the university rules and regulations.

The head of security at Wits, Mokgawa Kobe confirmed that CCTV footage is being reviewed but highlighted that the process was not concluded yet. He stated that once the process is concluded, the university community will be informed.

Kupe said that identification of all visitors was being tightened to ensure that breaches do not occur. He told Wits Vuvuzela that protest violence that included the burning of a Wits bus and the torching of a lecture hall would cost the university thousands of rand. He said the violent protests had also threatened the safety of students and staff.