Protests on campus spilled out onto the streets of Braamfontein as students continued with their call to “leave no student behind”.
Campus Protection Services (CPS) beefed up their presence to include private security on Wits University’s main campus, which saw men and women dressed in orange and black act as the only barrier between protesting students and those continuing with the academic programme on March 2, 2023. Police officers were also stationed at some university entrances at various points in the day.
Following a mass meeting on the evening of March 1, 2023, protesting students ramped up efforts to have activities on campus grind to a halt. At different points in the day groups of students took the protest off campus and onto Empire Road, Smit Street and Jorissen Streets, blocking traffic with their bodies and burning tyres.
In video footage taken by TimesLive journalist, Thabo Tshabalala, some protestors could be seen vandalising property and threatening shop-owners to close up shop.
— Thabo Tshabalala (@Thabo_Tshaba) March 2, 2023
Along with this, classes taking place in various venues were disrupted. The university has condemned these acts and said this is no longer a peaceful protest. In a statement, Wits head of communications, Shirona Patel said: “We cannot be held to ransom by a small group of disruptors, and we now have no choice but to act firmly against those who contravene the University’s rules.”
The university’s Legal Office is now studying video footage, photographs and statements given to CPS, “with a view to suspending the disruptors in line with the University’s policies and procedures and taking appropriate legal action to ensure that the rights of others are not infringed,” Patel added.
Members of the Wits SRC told Wits Vuvuzela that they will not stop protesting until all their demands are met and students are able to register, as such their demands now include an extension of the first block by one week.
In a statement, the Wits SRC said that talks with the National Student Financial Aid Scheme and the department of higher education failed. Now, the SRC has called for the immediate removal of Blade Nzimande and his deputy Buti Manamela for poor performance. Along with this demand they are calling for the withdrawal of the R45 000 NSFAS accommodation cap, and the increase of the NSFAS allowance to R2000 to address the high cost of living.
FEATURED IMAGE: A burning tyre pictured on the middle of Empire Road in Braamfontein on March 2, 2023. Photo: Mpho Hlakudi
- Wits Vuvuzela, Wits SRC: Students cannot be displaced on our watch, March 2023
- Wits Vuvuzela, Another academic year, another round of protests, February 2023
- Wits Vuvuzela, Students not forgotten in budget speech, February 2023