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Disruptions at dining hall and Matrix

- Wits University

Senior Executive Team statement: Security has been reinforced on campus and police are on standby.

There was an attempt yesterday by a group of about 50 – 80 workers to disrupt dining hall operations and operations in the Matrix as examinations begin on campus. The intimidation of some dining hall and other staff members has also been reported.

The University has thus reinforced security across all campuses and has put the police on standby to ensure that all university operations, and particularly examinations, are not disrupted.

Examinations will not be cancelled or postponed under any circumstances and the University will use the interdict that it has in place to ensure that its activities are not disrupted in any way.  

As far as can be established, the group of workers are unhappy about some of the agreements reached pertaining to the overall recommendations made by the Insourcing Task Team (ITT) which was established last year.

The group seems to be unhappy about the categories of staff recommended to be insourced, with the workers of retail establishments, particularly those in the Matrix now demanding that they should be insourced.

The ITT is due to meet again this evening and will put forward its final recommendations to the Council of the University at its 10 June meeting. Workers will also receive feedback on the report of the ITT. However it must be emphasised, as has been agreed by the ITT, that only Council can finalise any insourcing arrangements.  

The ITT was established last year following a request from workers for such a body to be established. It comprises of representatives of the workers, students, Students’ Representative Council, academics, management and Council. It is chaired by Advocate Dali Mpofu.

The attempt by the small group of workers to compromise our examinations and dining hall activities is unacceptable. We will not tolerate any intimidation, disruption or violence.

These are direct violations of the interdict that the University obtained to protect the rights of students and staff to learn and work in a conducive environment. Any person found to be violating the court order will face the full might of the law and will be barred from our campuses.

We urge all staff, students and workers to engage in a respectable manner without violating the rights of others.

It is our collective responsibility to ensure our safety and security and we request staff, students, workers and visitors to report any incidents as soon as possible to Campus Control. It will be helpful to give as much detail as possible, including photographs or video material to supplement CCTV footage and statements, where possible.