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“Students Have a Legitimate Concern on Wits Fees But We are Caught in a Bind” – Adam Habib

South Africa's Suspended RevolutionRewolusie op ysNtwa ya Boitseko e Fanyehuweng ya Afrika BorwaInguqukombuso YeNingizimu Afrika Eyabondwa Yashiywa

 
Wits University Vice-Chancellor, and author of South Africa’s Suspended Revolution, Adam Habib has commented on the ongoing #WitsFeeMustFall protest, saying he believes their gripe is legitimate. However, he said, violence and disruption of everyday activities on campus will not be tolerated.

Since yesterday, the Wits Student Representative Council (SRC) have been staging a protest against the 10.5 percent fee increase slated for next year. Entrances to the university were blocked, keeping students and staff trapped on campus.

Independent Online reporter Viasen Soobramoney spoke to Habib, who is currently attending the 2nd National Higher Education Transformation Summit in Durban. He commented of the increase of fees, the student protest and the video that shows students being forcibly removed by police at one of the campus’s entrances.

Read the article:

“The increase in fees is onerous and students have a legitimate concern on that but we are caught in a bind. Utility bills have gone up and that means research equipment has also gone up so we are really in a bind. But that does not entitle students to impose on the rights of others,” said Habib.

He said that the university’s management was part of the presidential task team looking into resolving the impasse between students and the institution.

Daily Vox reporters have been on the ground from the start of the protest. Read their summary article:

Speaking on Metro FM earlier on Wednesday vice-chancellor Adam Habib said it was “just unacceptable” to prevent 32,500 students from attending lectures.

“There’s been negotiations for six months on this matter. They’ve been party to the same negotiations … As much as I think there’s a legitimate issue here, we have to ask, is it legitimate to condone violence, is it legitimate for you to close down access to the university and prevent people from leaving?”

Habib said that the university was exploring several alternatives to raising fees but that he was “caught in a bind”. He added that if he did not the raise fees, the quality of education provided by the university would suffer.

The hastag #WitsFeeMustFall has been trending on Twitter since yesterday morning. Mail & Guardian has done a round-up of some of the most poignant tweets:

On Wednesday Wits University shutdown its main campus in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, forcing the university to cancel its academic activities.

Angry students blocked entrances to the university in protest against management’s increased fees by 10.5% next year and the upfront registration fee by 6%.

Have a look at what people are tweeting:


 

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