Wits University shuts down Solomon Mahlangu House following sit-in

Wits University shuts down Solomon Mahlangu House following sit-in

Wits University management has shut down the Solomon Mahlangu building following an altercation between the EFF Student Command and the university’s security guards on Wednesday.

This marked an end to the three-day sit-in of the EFF Student Command inside the building.

The students are demanding that their colleagues who face financial exclusion due to historic debt be allowed to register.

It also wants the institution to extend its registration period, which is due to end next week Friday.

Wits SRC has put the number of students who are facing this uncertain future at 8 142 students are said to be in this predicament.

The EFF SC says it is not backing down until there is a solution to accommodate the students, which it says are academically deserving.

The Student Command wants the university to provide a systematic way to ensure that all students are registered.

It claims that the university has saved a lot money during the COVID-19 pandemic, and therefore can afford to register students.

The Wits University Management is yet to comment on the clash between the EFF SC and security guards.

The standoff continues amid a fundraising campaign, launched by the Wits SRC, to avoid financial exclusion of students.

In a statement, the SRC says the risk of exclusion is the result of severe economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought the country’s economy to its knees.

The #21Millionin2021 campaign is gaining traction, with the Public Protector, advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane being one of the high profile South Africans to pledge support.

The Student Council is urging corporate entities, civil society and students to assist in the student’s plight. – Report by Voice of Wits newsreader and producer, Lerato Mohoto.

JMPD to patrol the streets of Braamfontein in bid to curb crime

JMPD to patrol the streets of Braamfontein in bid to curb crime

The Wits SRC is looking into tightening student safety measures in Braamfontein.

Wits University students have been complaining about the surge of crime in the area, saying it is mainly targeted at them.

Wits SRC President, Mpendulo Mfeka, says they have had talks with the City of Johannesburg over the matter and they have agreed to deploy JMPD officers to patrol the area.

Mfeka says plans for the establishment of a police station in the area are also afoot.

Students have reacted with mixed views over the news.

While they all welcome it – some are sceptical that the officers will patrol the streets of Braamfontein for long.

They say the City did deploy officers in 2018 and they later vanished into thin air.

Witsies urged to apply for the hardship fund

Witsies urged to apply for the hardship fund

The Wits Student Representative Council (SRC) is urging returning students who need financial assistance to apply for the institution’s hardship fund.

Applications opened on January 5 and will close in early March.

The fund caters for all students whose annual household income falls under the R600 000 threshold and whose academic average is at least 50%.

It assists them with registration and accommodation money.

Approved in 2018, the fund is aimed at assisting students, known as the missing middle, who are too poor to afford university themselves but also not poor enough to qualify for government funding.

Beneficiaries of the fund are decided by a discretionary committee made up of the institution’s SRC, the Deputy Vice Chancellor: Academic, the Dean of Students, the Registrar, and the Finance Executive.  

For the 2020 academic year, the fund helped almost 1 000 students. – Report by Voice of Wits reporter and newsreader, Yonaka Theledi.