Those behind protests not bona fide students: Wits management

Those behind protests not bona fide students: Wits management

Wits University management says they believe that the people behind the violent protests at the institution are not bona fide registered students.

This comes after the university’s Braamfontein campus descended into chaos this afternoon as students escalated their protest on day three.

Their demands include historic debt preventing students from registering, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) residence cap of R45 000 and rules on registering with the Hardship Fund, among other things.

Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel says they are prepared to engage with genuine students.

“We can’t be expected to carry people who for the past 10 years have historic debt, have accumulated debt, in some cases for example, we have a student on the list that was put forward to us, they’ve accumulated between three and four hundred thousand worth of debt over a few years because the student is in year 8 for a three-year degree. He’s been failing every single year, he’s lost his NSFAS funding, he’s lost his donor funding and still wants to be admitted to the institution, we can’t have that. The real numbers are that there probably around a 150 to 200 students who qualify academically. That’s the first and who required financial assistance.”

Patel on the issues of fees and the protest:

Security officers injured

Meanwhile, the university says three of its security officers have been injured during an exchange with students at the main campus in Johannesburg.

Protesting students and campus security guards hurled stones and other objects at each other outside the Wits Great Hall. Three police Nyalas and a water cannon had to be sent inside campus to quell the situation. Calm has since been restored and some of the protesting students can be seen leaving the campus.

Patel elaborates, “The situation has calmed down now and Campus Protection Services is trying to get those trespassing off the campus as soon as possible. Entrances have been closed and staff and students will be allowed to leave. No one is currently being allowed onto our campuses. We have already illustrated our commitment to trying to support our students as far as possible and to address many of the systemic national issues.”


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