Wits University mandatory vaccines

The Great Hall of Wits on East Campus. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Samuel Molepo

Wits SRC members issued suspension letters following protests

While the circumstances remain unclear, the suspensions of the Wits SRC members follows several days of demonstrations which led to the death of one man

Wits University mandatory vaccines

The Great Hall of Wits on East Campus. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Samuel Molepo

It has now been reported that members of Wits University’s Student Representative Council (SRC) have been issued letters of suspension by the institution.

For the moment, details are sketchy, however it is alleged that some of the SRC members have been locked out of their dormitories.

“Members of the SRC have been issued with letters of suspension by Wits University. They have been locked out of their rooms. The university would rather have them homeless,” the SRC said.

The Wits SRC has been at the forefront of student protests over the past several days, demanding that the university allow those who owe up to R150 000 in historical debt, be allowed to register.

How long will the Wits protests last?

The students have vowed to not back down from their demands and will continue taking to the streets. The decision to suspend members of the SRC at the institution will undoubtedly add more fuel to the fire. It appears the demonstrations could last a while, unless their grievances are addressed.

The protests led to a stand-off between students and members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) on Wednesday, 10 March 2021, and eventually the death of Mthokozisi Ntumba, a 35-year-old man who was a bystander.

Ntumba’s death sparked outrage amongst South Africans who have accused local police officers of being too heavy handed towards students. Messages of condolences have been streaming in for the man’s family, who was visited by Police Minister Bheki Cele on Thursday.

At the same time, Higher and Education Minister Blade Nzimande has been blamed by many students for his in the exclusion of some students. Particularly as he also served in the post during the Fees Must Fall demonstrations in 2016.

Nzimande himself has also reacted to the man’s passing and wants a full account of what actually happened to the man.

“Our sincere condolences go to the family, friends and colleagues of the deceased. I have directed that the Wits University Council, the Wits Management and requested the relevant Law enforcement authorities agencies to provide us with an explanation on what caused this tragedy, and to take whatever steps to ensure justice is done and appropriate responsibility is accorded,” Nzimande said.