Pro­test­ers cause a stink at Wits

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

JO­HAN­NES­BURG — Classes had to be re­lo­cated af­ter stink bombs were let off in a lec­ture hall in the New Com­merce Build­ing on Wits Uni­ver­sity’s West cam­pus yes­ter­day, man­age­ment said.

“Po­lice were called to the scene af­ter classes were dis­rupted. It looks like two stu­dents were go­ing from class to class try­ing to dis­rupt them,” Wits spokesper­son Shi­rona Pa­tel said. The two stu­dents had been iden­ti­fied. Mean­while, a group of about 30 stu­dents were singing out­side the build­ing. Science and Math­e­mat­ics classes were also dis­rupted.

On Thurs­day evening, protest­ing stu­dents used stones to break sev­eral win­dows.

They tried to start fires near the Old Mu­tual Hall, the DJ du Plessis Build­ing, the Grand Stand at the Science Sta­dium, and the Umthombo Build­ing. The fires were all ex­tin­guished quickly. Some build­ings were flooded as protest­ing stu­dents opened taps in the bath­rooms. Two stu­dents were ar­rested.

Mean­while, stu­dents must con­tinue with their shut down of ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions un­til free ed­u­ca­tion is pro­vided by the gov­ern­ment, said the EFF on Thurs­day.

The political party, which held a me­dia briefing at its head­quar­ters to dis­cuss the cur­rent study fee protests, a fraud charge be­ing lev­elled against Fi­nance Min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han and out­go­ing Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela’s state cap­ture re­port, threw its sup­port be­hind the stu­dents, say­ing they were on the right path.

How­ever, EFF leader Julius Malema also shared his thoughts on just how im­pos­si­ble it would be to at­tain what the stu­dents are yearn­ing for un­der the cur­rent lead­er­ship in South Africa.

Malema also hit out at those who say that while they em­pathise with the cause they are both­ered by the lev­els of vi­o­lence at in­sti­tu­tions of higher learn­ing and the de­struc­tion of pub­lic prop­erty. Malema said crit­ics had no right to tell stu­dents how to protest.

“Elit­ist crit­i­cism of stu­dents must come to an end, you don’t know what you are talk­ing about, you have never been at the picket lines. There is no for­mula to en­gage in a rev­o­lu­tion,” said the EFF com­man­der-in-chief.

“We are proud of our stu­dents. They must con­tinue to sol­dier on. Wher­ever Steve Biko is, Chris Hani and them, they are salut­ing this gen­er­a­tion be­cause this gen­er­a­tion is con­tin­u­ing with ex­actly what Chris Hani fought for.”

He sin­gled out Uni­ver­sity of Wit­wa­ter­srand vice chan­cel­lor Adam Habib, ac­cus­ing him of be­hav­ing as if he were re­spon­si­ble for pro­vid­ing free ed­u­ca­tion to stu­dents.

“VCs [vice chan­cel­lors] should be join­ing stu­dents, VCs see how they are strug­gling, how hun­gry they are for ed­u­ca­tion but are de­prived be­cause they can­not af­ford it. You are be­hav­ing as if it’s a bat­tle against you, it’s not.” — Sapa

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