Delay in decision over Wits exams

Wits students will only know tomorrow – the first day of the final examination period – whether their bid to have examinations halted is successful.

The Johannesburg High Court said it needed more time to consider arguments made in an urgent application brought by about 3 000 students from the University of Witwatersrand to have exams deferred to next year, or at least postponed for two weeks.

Students at the university, with the help of the Socio-Economic Rights Institute, argued they had not had sufficient time to prepare for the exams because of the fees protests.

Judge Willem van der Linde, however, said he would only be able to deliver judgment tomorrow after considering both parties’ arguments.

Advocate Garth Hulley SC, on behalf of the students, argued that the students were not opposed to exams, but that the university had underestimated the psychological trauma they experienced with a large police and security presence on campus.

Hulley said the university’s stance that students could apply for a deferred exam was flawed, as they were required to vacate the residences and only return once they were due to write the deferred exams.

Wits senior counsel Advocate Hamilton Maenetje said: “There are many students in similar positions who have already been granted deferred exams.”

“The rules are simple. If you are not writing exams, you have to vacate your residence,” he said.

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