Wits University student leader Fasiha Hassan says Wits will not turn into another Marikana.
Speaking to media briefly during chaotic fees must fall protest at the university’s main campus on Tuesday‚ Hasana said students are not provoking the police.
When asked if are there any provocateurs among students‚ Hasana said: “I would no like to believe there is not”.
“Comrades‚ high morale‚ high discipline. There is no need for us to have a warzone on campus. We will not have Habib’s Marikana‚” she added.
Hasana was making reference to an incident in 2012 were at least 34 miners were gunned down during violent salary protests.
On Monday Wits Vice Chancellor Adam Habib said some students were calling for their own version of the Marikana massacre to advance their cause for free education.
“I have listened to some protesters who say that they want their own Marikana. I was engaging a student yesterday who said that people must die to advance the movement‚” he said at a summit on higher education.
Wits has been hardest hit as #FeesMustFall protests continue at universities country-wide.
Sporadic clashes between students and police marked the resumption of the academic programme at the university on Tuesday as about 1 000 students did not heed the call to resume classes.
Police fired stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd which had disrupted classes and had gathered outside the Great Hall in Wits’s Braamfontein East campus.
The protest came after Wits announced the resumption of the academic programme was to start on Tuesday.
EFF national chairman Dali Mpofu also addressed the protesters‚ who said he came to the gathering not wearing any party colours.
“If the police want to shoot our children‚ then they must shoot us first‚” he told the protesters.
Students had been protesting since Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande announced last month that universities may increase the fees for 2017 by up to 8%.
Wits had obtained an interdict in April restraining students from unlawfully occupying buildings‚ facilities or lecture halls within the Wits precinct.
The interdict also restrained the students from disrupting any activities of the institution.
This seemed not to deter protesters from disrupting activities at the institution’s Braamfontein campus.
Wits remained hopeful that the academic programme would resume after police dispersed the crowd which had gathered
One lone student carried a placard which said‚ “Keep Wits open. It is my democratic right to an education too! Stop the violence”.
He was told to leave by the protestors‚ but he said he had made his view known.
Two other universities experienced a minor level of disruptions to their academic programme.
At the University of Cape Town‚ a group of protesters moved from upper campus to middle and lower campus on Tuesday morning.
Campus security and the police were monitoring the groups to ensure that operations are not disrupted‚ UCT management said in an update at 11am.
Earlier‚ protesters had tried to block both the north and south entrances to upper campus‚ but they were dispersed. Two students were arrested and charges were being laid.
Protesters also disrupted some lectures in the Leslie Social Sciences Building.
There were also protests at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Pietermaritzburg campus on Tuesday morning‚ but the protesters had since dispersed.
In a communiqué from the university‚ the institution said lectures on all campuses were continuing.
“Students are reminded that the university has a high court interdict in place protecting it against unlawful protests‚ disruptive gatherings‚ demonstrations‚ mass action‚ intimidation or any violent act to persons or property at the entrance and premises of university campuses.”
— TMG Digital