The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have issued a statement calling on Wits to recognise the EFF as an official student society on campus, called the “EFF Student Command”.
This is in response to the Wits EFF staging a sit-in in the office of the vice chancellor, Professor Adam Habib over the past two days, to demand their registration.
“EFF Calls on Wits university to recognize the EFF student command in campus
Economic Freedom Fighters fully supports the occupation of the Vice Chancellor’s office at the University of the Witwatersrand by students belonging to the EFF Student Command. The student fighters are demanding that the university officially recognize the EFF Student Command as a student organisation.
EFF Student Command at Wits has been in a struggle for recognition since its launch last year in August 2013. To be a formal student organisation allows it to function freely in campus in terms of venue bookings and access to other facilities. To this end, more than 500 students are signed up members of the EFF Student Command and many more want to be members.
It must be read as a suppression of the freedom of association and expression for the university to disallow the EFF Student Command to exist. The gates of the University of the Witwatersrand must be open to EFF because as an organisation, it is the number one choice for the people.
EFF further calls on Professor Adam Habib, the Vice Chancellor, to speedily give right of recognition to the EFF Student Command. Habib must also appreciate the spirit of robust democratic determination of the student fighters who in defiance of the decision to disallow their existence engage in non-violent protest. Threatening them with disciplinary charges is in itself a suppression a democratic right to protest and to defy unjust rules and decisions.
EFF must exist at Wits, students want it and it belongs to the students.”
Source: the official EFF website
Wits Vuvuzela: UPDATED: Habib responds to EFF protest on 11th floor, April 3 and EFF occupies VC’s office, April 2
OFFICE INVASION: Wits Economic Freedom Fighters members plan to occupy the VC’s office until they are recognised as an official student society at Wits. Photo: Tracey Ruff
The Wits Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have been occupying Vice Chancellor Adam Habib’s office in protest since lunchtime Wednesday.
The Wits EFF are protesting their exclusion as an official club and society after their application for 2014 was rejected, allegedly because it was submitted late. A special application to be recognised as a club and society was rejected last month by the dean of students, Dr Pamela Dube.
At 4.30 pm this afternoon, Wits Vuvuzela saw six students in their red EFF t-shirts and berets seated in the entrance to Habib’s office. The vice chancellor was not in the office as he is out of town.
“The VC is the office bearer, we are here to occupy the office, the space… the university cannot go on as usual as if nothing has happened,” said Wits EFF chair Vuyani Pambo.
The EFF protestors intend to eat, sleep and study in the office until they are recognised as an official society at Wits.
“We will be an official structure at Wits … We already exist in the hearts and minds of students, we just want to make things easier organisationally,” Pambo said.
The protestors have already spoken to Prof Tawana Kupe, the deputy vice chancellor of finance, who Pambo claimed “basically conceded that an unjust process has taken place … The correct procedure was not followed.”
Wits EFF’s application to be a club and society was rejected by the Student Representative Council, which is led by the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA), because it was submitted late. Wits EFF claim the application was rejected for political reasons.
“I suppose they are scared, the PYA run SRC that is,” said Pambo. “The corrupt SRC will not stop us.”
“It comes down to Wits’ political intolerance. This time last year, Pasma (Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania) were also denied recognition … We will not let that happen to the EFF,” said Monwabisi Dlangana, a member of Wits EFF.
As of Wednesday afternoon, only a handful of Wits EFF members had occupied the office. Pambo said they did not plan on filling the vice-chancellor’s office completely but would still escalate the protest.
“The numbers are there, but we don’t want to fill this place … This protest can escalate in other creative ways,” Pambo said.