At 7:30 this morning, roughly 100 students at the University of the Witswatersrand (Wits) gathered outside the main entrance on Empire Road. Students blocked the entrance as part of their protest against residence related issues.
Tshiamo Diole, secretary of Yale Village residence, explained that students are protesting “to raise our issues, genuine issues that we are facing.” Diole said that service delivery is one of the main issues students have. According to Diole, when students were moved into Yale residence last year, they were promised all services which students receive at other residences.
— Bafana Nzimande (@nzimandebafana) April 20, 2017
Wits Senior Executive Team released a statement this morning at 9:00 giving an update on the protest. “The protest is peaceful although a tyre has been burnt, causing smoke at the entrance.”
It was confirmed that academic activities had not been disrupted and were going ahead as scheduled. Staff and students were advised to access main campus using the other entrances. “Protection Services (formerly Campus Control) is managing the situation on the ground and the police are on standby.”
It was also explained that “The students seem to be protesting about issues related to accommodation particularly at Yale Village. This is the new residence that opened this year.”
Mr Fana Sibanyoni, Dean of Students and Chief Operating Officer, met with students this morning. He signed and received a memorandum listing their demands.
— Lindiwe Sithole (@THATlindz) April 20, 2017
Wits released a second update at 12:30 after having received the memorandum. “Students are demanding uncapped Wi-Fi, increased security, bus services throughout the day, and better cleaning of the building, amongst other issues.”
The university apologised for any inconvenience the protest may have caused.
Written by Jody Davison