The Chamber of Mines of South Africa have accepted a memorandum from Wits University students.


MASS MARCH: The #FreeMustFall students march on Jorrisen Street in Braamfontein. Photo: Nokuthula Zwane

By Wendy Mothata and Nokuthula Zwane

Hundreds of Wits University students marched to the offices of the Chamber of Mines in central Johannesburg earlier today. The students, escorted by Wits’ Campus Control officers, delivered a memorandum of demands to officials of the Chamber, which is a representative body for employers in the mining industry.

Former Wits Students Representative Council (SRC) president Mcebo Dlamini, who was one of the leaders of the march, said the students chose to march to the Chamber of Mines to demand that it “take a firm stand that they are going to assist in funding free education”.

The memorandum handed to Chamber representatives, entitled: “Save our Universities”, calls on the Chamber of Mines “to increase their contributions through the ring-fenced skills development levy.” In addition, the memo asks that the Chamber of Mines “lobby government to increase its share of the contribution to the running of our universities to 50% of the cost”.

Two #FeesMustFall students read the memorandum to the Chamber’s representatives.  The memorandum was signed amidst chants of “sign capitalist! sign!” from the students, by Vusi Mabena, one of the Chamber’s senior executives, who said the Chamber’s board will respond in two weeks.

The protesting students say their next course of action is to interdict the university-wide poll that is set to go ahead tomorrow. The poll, a decision by the vice chancellor Prof Adam Habib, is meant to gauge support for the university to resume the academic programme next Monday. Dlamini said, “We engage with our lawyers Dlamini Attorneys and Dali Mpofu will help”.