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Update from the Senior Executive Team - 17:00

- Wits University

"The University will resume normal activities once we can guarantee the safety and security of staff, students and property."

This is an update on our earlier communique on the suspension of University activities. The University will not be closed for an indefinite period and will resume normal activities once we can guarantee the safety and security of staff, students and property.

The decision was made after a careful assessment of the national context and the incidents of violence that took place in Braamfontein and Parktown this week, which resulted in injuries to protesting students, staff and security personnel. The University places human life and wellbeing above all else and cannot risk people sustaining further injury.

It is for this reason that we have suspended all University operations until further notice. Given the fluidity of the situation, we will only resume activities once we can guarantee the safety and security of staff and students.

If the situation does not improve, we may have to consider the closure of residences to enable a cooling off period so as to bring perspective to the situation. This is something we do not want to consider given the hardships it imposes on the vast majority of students. But neither can we leave the situation as is where the academic programme is compromised. We are currently investigating this issue, including its personal and legal ramifications, and will inform the University community on any further decisions in this regard in the coming days.

We are aware that this will impact on the academic project, and that both students and academics are concerned about the remainder of the academic year, the upcoming examinations and graduations. We will consult with academics about revising the academic programme and developing contingency plans to ensure that we do not lose the year. We cannot afford to compromise the education of 35 000 students, their futures, their families and those graduates who may enter the workplace next year.

We apologise to all members of the University community affected by the closure.

The SET is actively monitoring the situation and will keep all stakeholders apprised of developments. The SET will update the University community on Monday about the way forward.

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