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Impact of protests on Wits community

- Wits University

UPDATE FROM THE SENIOR EXECUTIVE TEAM (10:00):

University activities 

The academic programme continues today as per the academic calendar. 

Incidents 

This morning four students tried to disrupt a lecture in the New Commerce Building and set off a fire cracker in a lecture in the FNB Building. The lecturer and students continued with the lecture outside the venue. Campus Control is following up on this matter. 

Unfortunately some WitsPlus lectures were disrupted on the Wits West campus last night. Two cars were also overturned by protesting students on the Wits Braamfontein campus yesterday. Anyone with information, images or videos should please pass it on to the Head of Campus Control, Mr Mokgawa Kobe on 011 717-1853 or at Mokgawa.Kobe@wits.ac.za. 

Two cars were set on fire last night – one on Hostel Drive and another outside the Old Mutual Sports Hall. One fire was put out but the second car was gutted. Video footage shows that three suspects were involved in this incident. One person broke the window of the car, poured a flammable substance in through the window and set it alight. It exploded immediately and it appears that the suspect collapsed and was thrown to the ground. He was carried away by two other individuals. The police are investigating this case of arson. 

Given that we had a night without violence on Wednesday, Wits’ management was considering lifting the conditions under which individuals could move on campus after 10pm. However, given this incident of arson and other threats of violence, we cannot remove the restrictions entirely. We will continue to relax the conditions progressively as the situation stabilises whilst continuing to open up more spaces for academic study after 10pm for those committed to their studies. 

Communication 

Please note that the information provided via these daily updates intends to provide a macro overview of developments across the University, and does not reflect the individual experiences of people on the ground. It is also based on the information that we have at the time of sending the email. 

Impact of protests on Wits community 

We are fully aware that many students and staff members have been affected differently by the recent protests. We apologise to every member of the Wits community who is adversely affected. At the same time, please understand that we are doing all that we can under very trying conditions to complete the 2016 academic programme. We cannot guarantee that it will run 100 percent at the moment, but we are doing all that we can to save the academic year. 

The alternative is to shut down the University which will impact adversely on the lives of 36 000 students, thousands of staff members and the 7 000 first years that we need to welcome in 2017. While there are some who would like to see the 2016 academic programme sacrificed, we cannot allow this to happen. We will continue to fulfil our mandate, to respect the wishes of the majority who want to complete the year and we will continue to persevere until the year is complete. 

Let us focus on completing the 2016 academic year and our examinations.

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