Private security set to remain on campus indefinitely

By Naledi Mashishi

Private security personnel are set to remain at Wits University indefinitely as the institution says it has no immediate plans to remove them.

The guards, who have been outsourced from Johannesburg-based security company, Diligence Services Group, have been on Wits campuses since the first week of February after fees-related protest action started on February 4, and have remained at the university for almost two weeks after the protests ended on February 7.

“The University assesses the national and local higher education context and deploys security accordingly. As the need for the security personnel diminishes, so will their presence on campus be reduced,” said Buhle Zuma, Wits University spokesperson.

Wits Student Representative Council (SRC) deputy president Nkateko Muloiwa says that the SRC’s stance is that the university must remove all private security that is on campus.
“We don’t want private security to stay on campus and we have relayed that to management,” Muloiwa told Wits Vuvuzela.

He says that by continuing to keep private security on campus, “it is quite clear that [the university management] somehow want to provoke students and they’ve embarked on wasteful expenditure.”
According to their website, Diligence Services Group has provided private security to Wits University during student protests over the last three years.

In a testimonial published on their website, Wits director of protection services Mokgawa Kobe wrote that, “The company was very instrumental in assisting the university to manage the protest actions since January 2016.”

Students ended their protest action after Wits management agreed to allow some students with historical debt to register.

FEATURED IMAGE:  Private security personnel block protesters.
Photo: Phumi Ramalepe