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Management reiterates its complete commitment to negotiations

- Wits University

Update from Senior Executive Team (14:00):

Incidents today

We have just had reports of about 50 – 60 protestors entering the Matrix Student Centre and using fire crackers to alarm and disperse students in the Centre. A cleaner fainted and she is being treated by a doctor in the Campus Health and Wellness Centre. 

The protesting students are also breaking concrete dustbins to use them as rocks. The police are on scene managing the situation. They are containing the protest on the Library Lawns. 

We have also had reports of stink bombs being used to disrupt lectures in some classes on the Braamfontein Campus this morning. Students and lecturers have moved to the next available venue, where this has occurred. 

Management’s engagement with students 

We are still waiting for a time for the meeting to take place today. The mediators are consulting with student leaders in this regard and we are hopeful that this can take place soon. It is anticipated that the actual meeting between 20 student leaders and management representatives, facilitated by the independent mediators, will take place in a closed room in Solomon House.

This meeting will be live streamed via streaming.wits.ac.za  

Permission has been granted for staff members and students to watch the meeting on a big screen on the Ground Floor of Solomon House this evening. Please note that Solomon House cannot be used during the course of the day because it compromises lectures. We have no issue with another venue or the use of Solomon House after 5pm. 

We have repeatedly heard student leaders say that management is not willing to negotiate. This is blatantly untrue.

We are completely committed to negotiations. Our only condition is that the live streaming of the negotiations to a mass meeting cannot take place in Solomon House during lecture hours because this compromises the academic programme. We call on student leaders not to make misleading public statements in this regard. 

Again we reiterate: we are completely committed to negotiations.

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