Two Wits University students have been suspended and one faces disciplinary proceedings following a physical altercation with with staff members at the Wits School of Education (WSoE) last Thursday, April 6. The incident saw two staff members being taken to hospital and the arrest of one student who remains in jail.
University spokersperson, Shirona Patel, confirmed the suspensions but said could not reveal the identity of the students. “Following Thursday’s incident, two students have been suspended and one has been arrested”. Wits EFF has confirmed that all three students affected are members of their organisation.
Mangaliso Sambo, Wits EFF member of the School of Education Student Council (ESC), was arrested on Friday, April 7, at his residence, Rennie House, in connection with the incident, according to Orediretsi Masebe, Wits EFF branch secretary. Mduduzi Zondo, SAPS Hillbrow spokesperson confirmed that Sambo appeared in court on Monday, April 10 but his case was postponed. He will remain at the Hillbrow police station until his bail hearing on Thursday, April 13, according to Zondo. Sambo is expected to be charged with assault and malicious damage to property.
Masebe said he believes Sambo was denied bail because of previous charges bought by the university during the 2016 Fees Must Fall protests.
Following the suspensions and arrests, the Wits EFF Student Command issued a statement saying, “the occurrence of these incidents is no more than a reminder of the political intolerance that is rife within the university space and a confirmation to us that the university has a direct agenda against the existence of the Wits EFF student command”.
The two injured staff members, a lecturer and a Campus Control officer, have been discharged from Milpark hospital, according to Professor Karin Brodie, head of WSoE. She added that the incident traumatising for all the staff members who were in the meeting when the incident happened.