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General Assembly of the University of the Witwatersrand

- Wits University

Here follows the details for the General Assembly to be held on Friday:

All Wits University students, staff and alumni are invited to attend a General Assembly of the University of the Witwatersrand to be held as follows: 

Date: Friday, 7 October 2016

Time: 11:00 – 12:30

Venue: Library Lawns, Braamfontein Campus East

It is exceptionally rare that a General Assembly of the University is called – it is an extraordinary event, convened on only the gravest of occasions. The role of the General Assembly is to adopt resolutions reached by consensus in the University. Wits is holding a General Assembly with the aim to unite all constituencies in a joint stance on an issue of national importance, in this case focusing on access to quality higher education. 

A resolution to hold a General Assembly is made by Council. The Chancellor presides over the Assembly whilst the Vice-Chancellor or Registrar issues the notice to convene the Assembly. 

Based on previous General Assemblies, the following Constituencies read out their statement: 

  • The Chancellor of the University (Justice Dikgang Moseneke)
  • The Chairperson of Council
  • The Chairperson of Senate
  • The Chairperson of Forum
  • The President of the Students’ Representative Council
  • The President of Convocation 

Other representatives may speak at tomorrow’s event – these details are still being confirmed. 


In the history of Wits, there have been only ten congregations. A summarised and tabulated list of such meetings held to date, is included below. Messages are read out, by among others, the leaders of each of the University’s main governing bodies, including Council, Senate, Convocation, University Forum and the Students’ Representative Council and such leaders as confirmed by the University. 

Most of the former assemblies, aside from the last two, were in protest against apartheid legislation or activities. 





16 April 1959

The 1959 declaration of the University’s commitment to remaining free and open


8 June 1972

The University’s statement on the Minister of Justice’s prohibition of all protest meetings in South Africa


26 August 1975

Protest against the detention of students without trial


3 May 1983

The objection to the Universities Amendment Bill which gave the Minister power to impose racial quotas on universities


16 August 1985

Commitment to the University’s academic principles and the right and freedom of the University to decide who may teach and who may be admitted to study


15 August 1986

Declaration against the State of Emergency and the detention without trial of students and staff


28 October 1987

Violation of the institutional autonomy of universities and the restriction of subsidies


5 August 1992

Call to government to curb violence, combat poverty and call for a peaceful transition to democracy  


7 March 2001

The launch of Wits’ AIDS policy and commitment to fighting the epidemic


24 September 2005

Alumni General Assembly for those who boycotted their graduation ceremonies in protest under the apartheid regime.