Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
1 minute read
6 Oct 2016
8:32 am

Students do not trust Habib to mediate Wits assembly

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

The assembly is aimed at creating an open platform for dialogue between stakeholders.

Vice Chancellor Prof Adam Habib is pictured, 29 October 2015, at the Senate House at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, during a meeting with campus staff and students about the outsourcing of workers on campus. Picture: Alaister Russell

The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) is on the verge of hosting a historical general assembly tomorrow following negotiations between the institution’s management, student representative council (SRC) and the former leaders of the Black Student Society.

The assembly is aimed at creating an open platform for dialogue between stakeholders. But the EFF Students’ Command (EFFSC) said it planned to intensify the struggle for free tertiary education in the coming week.

“We have already started mobilising people from different communities to join us in our planned national shutdown on Monday and Tuesday,” EFFSC leader Mpho Morolane said.

“We will speak to churches on Sunday in a bid to conscientise them about the importance of this struggle for free and quality tertiary education.”

READ MORE: Caster Semenya says #FeesMustFall a waste of time and ‘disturbing’

The planned shutdown follows protests that had engulfed universities for more than three weeks, sparked by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande’s announcement that it was up to universities to determine tuition fee hikes. #FeesMustFall activists did not trust Wits vice-chancellor Adam Habib to mediate the assembly.

“He is not a neutral party,” one of the movement’s leaders, Mcebo Dlamini, said. At the University of Cape Town, disgruntled protesting students unsuccessfully attempted to “reoccupy” the Steve Biko Students’ Union building through violent means.

READ MORE: WATCH: Angry Wits protesters confront police topless

At the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, the institution remained closed as engagements continued in a bid to resume classes.