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Update from the Senior Executive Team - 17 March 2021

- Wits University

Update to staff and students.

We have entered into the second week of the academic programme, and we would like to thank you for your perseverance and commitment to the University under the current circumstances. We know that it is not easy and we appreciate your adaptability and resilience in the face of uncertainty. 

Online logins

The latest learning management system reports reflect that the unique weekly logins from 8-14 March 2021 were 30 678, whilst the average unique daily logins were 22 148. Last week, about 89% of students logged in at least once. Faculty averages for students logging in at least once a week ranged between 81% and 97%.

Registration update

As at 12 March 2021, Wits had registered 97% of all full-time students (36 332), as reflected in the presentation made to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training. The target for 2021 is an average of around 37 500 full-time students. The closing date for undergraduate registrations is Friday, 19 March 2021. There are three more postgraduate intakes in April, July and September.  

Financial Assistance

We remain committed to enabling as many students as possible to register, provided that these students have applied for the 2021 academic year, meet the academic requirements, and can be accommodated within the resources that we have available. To this end, Wits received 1 351 requests for financial assistance from the Wits Hardship Fund. To date, 834 students have been assisted and have been able to register for the academic year. We are working on a case by case basis through the remaining 517 applications and commit to processing them before this Friday.

Engagement with the SRC

Members of the Senior Executive Team (SET) met with a delegation from the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) again on Tuesday evening. At the meeting, the SET made the commitment to assist all qualifying students on the list of 300 put forward by the SRC. While they accepted the concession, the SRC still persisted with their demands and the meetings ended in deadlock.

Student demonstrations continued this week.

Parliamentary Portfolio Committee

Wits presented to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training today, in a session that included presentations by the Minister of Higher Education and Training, the Wits SRC, the South African Union of Students leadership and the CEO of Universities South Africa. The presentation made by the Chairperson of Council and the Vice-Chancellor and Principal is available here: Presentation to Portfolio Committee

In memory of Mthokozisi Ntumba

Today marks exactly one week since the passing of Mr Mthokozisi Ntumba, a husband, and father of four, who died on the streets of Braamfontein last week, after being shot in the chest with rubber bullets. Four police officers appeared in court today regarding the shooting. The Vice-Chancellor has engaged with Mr Ntumba’s close family and has expressed condolences on behalf of the University.

We are also glad that the two students who were injured in the protests last week are recovering.


We know and understand the anxiety of members of the Wits community. We are grappling with multiple challenges – the coronavirus pandemic, student protests, new modes of learning and teaching and power outages. Please take care of yourself, your colleagues and friends, and loved ones.

If required, students can access the  CCDU’s Counselling Services or call the 24 hour Wits Student Crisis Line (0800 111 331). Staff can access Kaelo’s counselling services by calling 0861 635 766 OR dialling *134*928 OR Sending a ‘Please call Me’ to 072 620 5699 OR email

Take care and keep safe


17 MARCH 2021