Wits students have occupied and are holding a meeting in Solomon House–previously known as Senate House–having broken down a door to gain access after they were denied entry by security guards and police officers.
The students are expected to hold a meeting to discuss the way forward. Earlier, incoming Student Representative Council (SRC) president Kefentse Mkhari annouced that Wits would be shut down because students want “free education now”. This after Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande’s announcement that fees should increase by a maximum of 8% for students whose families make more than R600,000 a year.
The meeting is set to outline the merits of further protest. Outgoing SRC deputy president Motheo Broddie said they would not prevent people from speaking as all students were allowed to raise their voice at the meeting.
In the afternoon following Nzimande’s announcement, some students wearing Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) t-shirts prevented student activist and Economic Freedom Fighters member Simamkele Dlakavu from speaking. Dlakavu told Wits Vuvuzela that she wanted to raise a point of clarity regarding what they are going to be striking for. She said the end goal should be made clear because last year during FeesMustFall protests students were striking for free education and insourcing of workers but said the PYA ended the strike although workers had also not been insourced and only a zero-percent increase announced. “ I will only be shutting down for free education, de-colonised education and the dignity of black workers,” said Dlakavu.
Broddie denied that anyone was intentionally prevented from speaking but said the earlier meeting was “chaotic” and proper procedure was not followed.
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