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.

Wits in bid to create evolution crises prediction system

Wits in bid to create evolution crises prediction system

The University of the Witwatersrand has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with York University in Canada.

The memorandum seeks to lead to the creation of the Africa-Canada Artificial Intelligence Data Modelling Consortium.

The consortium will create algorithms based on Artificial Intelligence to predict the evolution of crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, with which to help policymakers and the public manage complex situations.

Wits Vice chancellor, Professor Zeblon Vilakazi, and Professor Rhonda Lenton from York University virtually signed the memorandum on Wednesday night.

Professors Jian-hong Wu from York University and Bruce Mellado from Wits University will co-chair the modelling consortium.

Professor Mellado elaborates on the initiative in the clip below.

Study shows new injection is more effective than daily pill to prevent HIV in women

Study shows new injection is more effective than daily pill to prevent HIV in women

The Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute (WRHI) has announced a breakthrough in HIV prevention.

The trial conducted by researchers from the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN), known as HPTN 084, was headed by Dr Sinead Denaly- Moretlwe, a research professor at the University of the Witwatersrand.  

The institution says the initial results emanating from clinical trials demonstrate that taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) regimen of long-acting cabotegravir (CAB LA) injections once every eight weeks is more effective than taking a daily pill to prevent HIV infection among women in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

“The results from HPTN 084 are incredibly important for women in Africa where lowering HIV incidence remains a priority,”  she says.

Dr Delany-Moretlwe says both the injections were safe and had no severe side effects. She says the next step for the study is to allow participants to learn about the medication they were taking.

Delany-Moretlwe says the breakthrough is a shared success for Sub Saharan Africa at large.

“We know that adherence to a daily pill continues to be challenging, and an effective injectable product such as long-acting CAB is a very important additional HIV prevention option for them. We are grateful to the women who volunteered for this study and the research staff, as this study would not have been possible without their commitment to HIV prevention.”    

About 3 223 cisgender women from South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda and Zimbabwe participated in the study. Seventy percent of the participants were under the age of 25.  

“If we are to turn the tide on the HIV epidemic, we will need prevention options that work for women in sub-Saharan Africa. These findings provide great hope and motivation for additional studies to show safety and acceptability in adolescents, pregnant and breastfeeding women,” says Executive Director of Wits RHI, Professor Helen Rees.

Vice-Chancellor and Principal Designate of Wits University, has congratulated the team for the milestone.

“This announcement demonstrates the important role that research entities and research-intensive universities play in transforming society and saving human lives. Universities like Wits continue to generate high-quality, locally-relevant knowledge that match and exceed global standards. Congratulations to the Wits RHI team for leading world-class research from Africa that addresses the burden of disease on the continent – this incredible breakthrough will certainly save the lives of many women living in sub-Saharan Africa, and beyond,” he says.

Wits University is recognised as a global leader in HIV research and has contributed a vast amount of knowledge in the fight against the pandemic. – Report by VOW FM News’ Boitumelo Anastasi Mokgobu

GBV at Wits under the spotlight

GBV at Wits under the spotlight

Amid a public outcry over the scourge of  Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in South Africa, the government is stepping up its efforts to stem the problem.

President Cyril Ramaphosa recently announced three bills aimed at closing gaps, which sometimes allow perpetrators of such crimes evade justice.

VOW FM’s Kamogelo Tinyiko caught up with some Wits University students for their views on GBV on campus.

PYA biggest winner of Wits 2020/2021 SRC elections

PYA biggest winner of Wits 2020/2021 SRC elections

The members of Wits University’s Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) were the biggest winners in the institution’s Student Representative Council (SRC) elections.

PYA’s 10 candidates made it to the 13-member body.

Independent candidates didn’t make the cut, while three candidates from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) filled the three vacant positions.

VOW FM’s Kamogelo Tinyiko caught up with the outgoing Wits SRC leadership ahead of the elections and filed the report below.

Wits students’ eviction fears mount over unpaid rent

Wits students’ eviction fears mount over unpaid rent

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only claimed lives but also left some breadwinners jobless and businesses battered.

Some Wits University students now fear they could lose accommodation due to financial challenges either caused by the loss of income of parents or a recent defunding of at least 5 000 students by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). 

VOWFM’s Kamogelo Tinyiko spoke to one student, who accuses South Point of having evicted students  who were unable to pay for their rent.