Protesters cause a stink at Wits
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