WITS, SRC reach resolution

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Pretoria - The University of the Witwatersrand and the Students' Representative Council on Monday evening reached a resolution on a series of proposals, including that there will be no increases in academic, residence and any other fees.

The university committed to establishing its own internal commission to investigate the effects of outsourcing services on the university, the cost structures associated with insourcing and possible alternative models. There will be no disciplinary processes against students who were involved in legitimate forms of protest.

As a result of the resolution, the academic programme and all university activities will commence on Wednesday.

“We have agreed to postpone the examinations and a new examination timetable will be shared with students before the end of the week,” said a statement from the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Adam Habib, on behalf of the senior executive team.

It said they had recognised the achievement of the student movement to place on the national agenda the issue of affordable, quality higher education.

Students at the university protested against a proposed 10 percent increase in university fees for the 2016 academic year, which led to mass protests by students from institutions across the country.

On Friday, following a meeting with vice-chancellors, chairpersons of university councils, presidents of student representative councils and representatives of student organisations, President Jacob Zuma announced a zero increase in fees for next year.

He said the meeting had agreed that government needs to lead a process that goes wider than fees, looking at the higher education sector.

The Presidential task team that had been established to address funding mechanisms will be broadened to look at all these and other broader transformation issues affecting higher education.

The University of Cape Town campus will remain closed until 30 October. Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price has made a commitment to bring a proposal to the students’ council on the question of outsourcing and insourcing by 1 November 2015.

The exams scheduled to be written from 27 October to 13 November 2015 have been postponed. These exams will be moved to a new date.

Activities have been suspended at all Tshwane University of Technology campuses due to ongoing disruptions. The university said all staff members and students are expected to report back on Wednesday. Students will be informed by their departments about academic recovery plans.   

The Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria, Professor CM de la, Rey conducted extensive discussions with the representatives of all the student bodies and a formal agreement was signed with all the parties on Monday.

It was agreed that academic activities would resume on Tuesday. A revised schedule for examinations was expected to be communicated as soon as possible. 

Meanwhile there have been reports of violence at the University of Limpopo in Polokwane and University of Fort Hare in Alice. The University of the Western Cape closed on Monday after hundreds of students marched across the university grounds. – SAnews.gov.za