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Statement on disruptions and classes today

- Wits University

Update from the Senior Executive Team (13:00):

Following the disruption of classes on the Parktown and Braamfontein campuses this morning, hundreds of students gathered outside the Great Hall, demanding access to Solomon House, even though we had allocated designated areas for protest. 

The students started throwing sizeable rocks that could have maimed or killed people. The police dispersed the crowd using stun grenades, teargas and water cannons. Some of the crowd remain outside the Great Hall while others have since dispersed into Braamfontein. Two arrests were made this morning and some minor injuries have been reported. 

The Dean of Students engaged with the student leaders and asked them to put forward 20 representatives to engage with management. The students did not take up this offer. 

The University offered to hold an imbizo, a two way engagement facilitated by a neutral facilitator within a time frame. However, this cannot be brought about through threats. We cannot allow students to violate the rules of the University and bring about an imbizo through threats. This is not democratic behaviour. 

Several of Wits’ classes on various campuses are continuing today, albeit with low numbers. Where Heads of Schools are comfortable for the academic programme to continue, classes should resume. Please inform the Head of Security and your respective Dean if you wish to continue classes so that appropriate security measures can be put in place. 

Further communication will follow this afternoon.