Students meeting in Solomon House to discuss way forward

 

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Wits students enter central block through broken door.                                                                                     Photo: Tendani Mulaudzi

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.

Related Articles:

Wits Vuvuzela, Wits students: “You can’t enter, You can’t leave”, September 19, 2016

Wits Vuvuzela, DASO responds to fee increment announcement, September 19, 2016

Wits Vuvuzela, Wits Executive releases fees announcement statement, September 19, 2016

Wits Vuvuzela, ASAWU releases fee increase statement, September 19, 2016

 

 

 

 

Once bitten twice shy

A WITS honours student is facing assault charges after hitting and biting a fellow student.

Simamkele Dlakavu, chairperson of the Wits Dreamgirls, appeared at the Randburg Magistrate’s court last week after allegations she assaulted her co-worker and fellow Witsie Ruweshka Gopie, a third year law student. Police spokesperson Captain Kym Cloete said Dlakavu was charged with assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and was released on a R500 bail at the April 17 court appearance.  The alleged assault happened on February 12 when Gopie agreed to give Dlakavu a lift to Sandton where they were working together at an event.

According to the website, Timeslive, the argument started when Gopie got lost on the way to Sandton. Dlakavu then left their employer a message saying Gopie was incompetent and did not want to work at the event. The employer later called to give directions. However, an argument between the two women still ensued.

“She started calling me a slut, said my family hates me, she called me a bitch, she said no one at res likes me,” Gopie told Timeslive.

She said Dlakavu began attacking her while she was still driving. Hitting her on the head and biting her twice. Gopie was later given a tetanus shot and put on a precautionary two week course of antiretrovirals. Wits Vuvuzela tried to reach both Gopie and Dlakavu, but neither could be reached for comment.

Residence cluster manager Doreen Musemwa could not comment on the details of the alleged assault. However, she told Wits Vuvuzela the two students had to be separated and Gopie had been placed in another, temporary residence.

Musemwa said she could not have the girls in the same residence.

The case was postponed and Dlakavu is due to appear in court again on May 21. Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel said intimidation allegations had also been lodged with the University by Gopie. She said this was being investigated by the Wits legal office.