Wits sets tough conditions

Students wearing face masks during protests face suspension.

This is just one of several new conditions instituted by Wits University management in a last-ditch attempt to save the academic year.

Management announced yesterday that it would resume classes today with strict conditions following a university council meeting on Saturday.

But #FeesMustFall student leader Mcebo Dlamini was adamant the campus would remain closed until their demands were met.

“We extended a hand to the university on Friday and we said to them we were willing to discuss and negotiate,” Dlamini said.

Wits spokeswoman Shirona Patel said student leaders had shifted the goalposts when they backtracked on an agreement to take part in a general assembly due to be held by the university on Friday.

The university had decided to place conditions in place to ensure “the continuation of the learning, teaching, research and administrative activities of the university”. They include:

Students will be allowed to protest but only in specific areas;

Anyone intimidating students to leave a classroom or building, or disrupting any university activity, may be suspended;

Anyone carrying rocks, stones, weapons or any other items that can be used to destroy property or inflict harm will immediately be disarmed, and may be suspended;

Any person using items to deliberately conceal their identity may be suspended; and

All staff and students will be required to carry their access cards with them.

Patel said: “If we don’t open tomorrow [today] we’re at risk. We know it will be a difficult week but we need to open.”

SAPS spokeswoman Brigadier Sally de Beer said public order policing units would be deployed across campuses where necessary.

Universities in Cape Town will remain closed today.

Meanwhile, one of NMMU’s #FeesMustFall leaders said yesterday the university would remain shut until their demands were met.

The leader, who did not want to be named, said there would be a mass meeting tomorrow.