WATCH: Wits student protest temporarily shuts offices‚ disrupts lectures

04 April 2016 - 14:41 By TMG Digital

Protesting students at the University of the Witwatersrand have tossed rubbish around the Braamfontein campus in a demonstration aimed at the fees office. Security has been deployed by campus management to bring the situation under control. WATCH video of the protest“A group of about 30 people have threatened students queuing outside the Fees Office‚” Wits senior management said in a statement on Monday. “The Fees Office and all other offices on the Ground Floor have thus been temporarily shut.”Some lectures in Senate House and in buildings on the Wits East Campus have also been disrupted.Wits said the students were joined by some employees of shopkeepers in the Matrix Student Centre‚ leading to the closure of the Matrix.Some of the students were still protesting at the piazza outside the Great Hall‚ while others had moved to the West Campus.“The University’s management condemns this behaviour‚ which is a direct violation of the court order obtained by the University and members of Campus Control have been deployed to stabilise the situation.”No injuries have been reported‚ according to Wits management.The protests were being led by the Economic Freedom Fighters and the Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania.According to the students‚ the protest is a continuation of the #FeesMustFall campaign as 500 students face exclusion for not being able to come up with the agreed R10‚000 tuition fee after registering on a registration fee waiver at the beginning of the academic year.This was denied by Wits management‚ who said no student would be deregistered or barred from campus if they could not meet the payment deadline of March 31.“The University is encouraging all students who can afford to pay their outstanding fees to do so by the end of March‚ which is the date upon which all fees for the year are due‚” Wits said.“Students who cannot afford to pay their fees by the 31st of March 2016 should sign an Acknowledgement of Debt (AOD) at the Fees Office and enter into a payment plan to prevent interest from being added to their account. If students adhere to the payment plan‚ no interest will be charged.“Students who sign the AOD will not be deregistered‚ will not be barred from campuses‚ will not be financially excluded‚ will not have their cards deactivated‚ and will not have interest charged to their account if they adhere to the payment plan.”Students who do not sign the AOD would still not be deregistered‚ Wits said‚ but interest may be charged to their accounts.“We are doing all that we can to assist students wherever possible through scholarships‚ bursaries‚ financial aid and fundraising. However‚ we also need to manage the University’s finances carefully in order to keep the University sustainable.”

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