The University of the Witwatersrand has suspended its “academic programme with a common objective to resume it in full on Monday”.
Wits said it made “this concession because we do not want the scenes that played out on our University campuses” on Tuesday‚ when students and police engaged in running battles‚ “to be repeated”.
“If a negotiated outcome can achieve this end‚ then we will be all the stronger as a university community. The students have committed to saving the 2016 academic year‚” the university’s Shirona Patel said.
Violence intensified at the university after advocate Dali Mpofu addressed students on Tuesday and called on former student leaders to join the protests taking place at the campus.
Mpofu later told Radio 702 (www.702.co.za): “The key issue is that we must all try and save the academic year and on that we are all 100% agreed.”
Mpofu was speaking ahead of a meeting with Wits vice-chancellor Professor Adam Habib‚ who told 702 that he welcomed the “window of opportunity” to reach some form of negotiated settlement
Patel said late on Tuesday night that‚ “following negotiations with former leaders of the Black Student Society and SRCs‚ supported by clergy‚ Wits agreed to mediated negotiations between student groups‚ university management and other roleplayers”.
“To enable this process to continue‚ we have agreed to suspend the academic programme with a common objective to resume it in full on Monday‚ October 10‚ 2016‚” Patel elaborated.
Another concession made by Wits was agreeing to “withdraw the police to the perimeter of the university’s campuses under the express commitment from all parties that there will be no violence or intimidation of students and staff”.
“For the remainder of this week‚ former leaders of the Black Student Society and SRCs‚ supported by clergy‚ will facilitate and mediate a process of consensus-building between all stakeholders with a view towards having a General Assembly on Friday‚ 7 October 7 2016‚” Patel said.
“Such an assembly would be chaired by the chancellor and would focus on a consensual position on the principle of full access to higher education.
“A negotiated outcome is in the broader interests of all stakeholders and will help us save the 2016 academic year.”
– TMG Digital