The Amic Deck will be renamed The Wits Sibanye-Stillwater Infinity Bridge in October 2022.
Not everybody on campus is happy with the shiny, millions of rands worth bridge that will replace the old walkway connecting East and West campus.
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between Wits University and the Sibanye-Stillwater mining company on Thursday, August, 19, 2021. The deal seals an estimated R52 million sponsorship, over a period of ten years, from the company.
According to a statement from Wits, the renaming of the Amic Deck represents the physical partnership between Wits and Sibanye-Stillwater. Sibanye will refurbish the bridge, as well as support the Faculty of Engineering and the Built environment. Wits’ communication officer, Deborah Minors, told Wits Vuvuzela that “Wits will not bear the costs of renaming the bridge.”
The money from the donation will be used to enhance the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment. It will also be allocated to help disadvantaged students and aid research to support future engineers and geoscientists.
This is the first of the Centenary Projects which sees Wits celebrating 100 years in 2022.
In a statement released by Sibanye-Stillwater, the mining company says: “We are mindful of the business imperative to maintain a strong pipeline of young and diverse talent, [and] the provision of quality tertiary education is a vital requirement if we are to sustain the mining industry and grow the economy.”
The Socialist Youth Movement (SYM) at Wits has protested this partnership, saying Sibanye does not protect mine workers.
Raees Noorbhai, national coordinator of the movement, told Wits Vuvuzela that this was a “hideous decision by the institution.” Noorbhai said Sibanye, as the owner of platinum mine Lonmin, could not separate itself from the Marikana Massacre where 34 miners were shot on August 16, 2012. Sibanye acquired Lonmin in 2019.
SYM says that free and decolonised education should be funded entirely by the state. Noorbhai further added that it is important to “delink the institution from corporations”.
Wits Vuvuzela has reached out to the Wits SRC for comment and had not received a response by the time of publication.
Listen below to what Witsies think about the project.
FEATURED IMAGE: A photo of the Wits Amic deck with the Chamber of Mines Building in the background. Photo: Sumaya Mamdoo.
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