Wits University will hold its 11th general assembly tomorrow.

Wits University will hold its 11th general assembly on the library lawns on Friday, October 7, from 11am. The assembly is a gathering of the university community and will focus on the current funding crisis in higher education. The assembly will be presided over by the Chancellor of the university, Justice Dikgang Moseneke.

The university announced the assembly via a statement released a short while ago and which is reproduced below.



“It is exceptionally rare that a General Assembly of the University is called. It is an extraordinary event, convened on only the gravest of occasions. The role of the General Assembly is to adopt resolutions reached by consensus in the University. Wits is holding a General Assembly with the aim to unite all constituencies in a joint stance on an issue of national importance, in this case focusing on access to quality higher education.

A resolution to hold a General Assembly is made by Council. The Chancellor presides over the Assembly whilst the Vice-Chancellor or Registrar issues the notice to convene the Assembly.

Based on previous General Assemblies, the following constituencies read out their statement:

  • The Chancellor of the University (Justice Dikgang Moseneke)
  • The Chairperson of Council (Dr Randall Carolissen)
  • The Chairperson of Senate (Prof. Adam Habib)
  • The Chairperson of Forum (Mr Mpho Tlala)
  • The President of the Students’ Representative Council (Mr Kefentse Mkhari)
  • The President of Convocation (Prof. Mamokgethi Phakeng)

Other representatives may speak at tomorrow’s event – these details are still being confirmed.


In the history of Wits, there have been only 10 General Assemblies. A summarised list of these meetings is included below. Messages are read out by, among others, the leaders of each of the University’s main governing bodies, including Council, Senate, Convocation, University Forum and the Students’ Representative Council, and such leaders as confirmed by the University.

Most of the former assemblies, aside from the last two, were in protest against apartheid legislation or activities.

1 16 April 1959 The 1959 declaration of the University’s commitment to remaining free and open
2 8 June 1972 The University’s statement on the Minister of Justice’s prohibition of all protest meetings in South Africa
3 26 August 1975 Protest against the detention of students without trial
4 3 May 1983 The objection to the Universities Amendment Bill which gave the Minister power to impose racial quotas on universities
5 16 August 1985 Commitment to the University’s academic principles and the right and freedom of the University to decide who may teach and who may be admitted to study
6 15 August 1986 Declaration against the State of Emergency and the detention without trial of students and staff
7 28 October 1987 Violation of the institutional autonomy of universities and the restriction of subsidies
8 5 August 1992 Call to government to curb violence, combat poverty and call for a peaceful transition to democracy
9 7 March 2001 The launch of Wits’ AIDS policy and commitment to fighting the epidemic
10 24 September 2005 Alumni General Assembly for those who boycotted their graduation ceremonies in protest under the apartheid regime.

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