Wits suspends lectures amid protests

This follows a protest after the university proposed an increase of 10.5% in tuition fees for 2016.

A student holds a placard at the student protest on 14 October 2015 after Wits University proposed an increase of 10.5 percent in tuition fees for 2016. Picture: @Zoe_Ngwenyurr via Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Wits University has announced it's suspended all lectures and academic activity today to ensure the safety of all on campus.

This follows a protest sit-in by students this morning after the university proposed an increase of 10.5 percent in tuition fees for 2016.

The university says its fee increases are on par with other South African institutions, and it has been consulting with student leaders about the hike for several months.

How the revolution began, this morning. #WitsShutDown #WitsFees pic.twitter.com/vd4bdtuSOo

The university says the demonstration was mostly peaceful aside from a single scuffle.

The university's Shirona Patel said, "Everything is calm at the moment. We did have one altercation, and those students have been removed from campus. However, we really believe that in the interest of the safety and security of all and until everything has calmed down and stabilised a bit, we are suspending all academic activities for today only."

Meanwhile, the university says while it respects the right to protest, it won't tolerate the violation of the right to education.

Wits Vice Chancellor Adam Habib says he's disappointed in the manner in which student leaders addressed their grievances.

"Essentially what we've had is 200 students violate the rights of 32,500 students on the campus, and obviously this matter will have to be addressed, both with the student leadership and those who violated the student code of conduct."

A student march also took place this afternoon.

#WitsProtest students are blocking the Yale Road entrance to main campus. They are not allowing anyone to leave. EC pic.twitter.com/LEiNriiIXG


"Stay in your financial lane. Go to FET College, and let the rich go to Wits." Awunyi perhaps? Sengathi your thinking is flawed! #WitsFees

Without higher education the entire country loses. In solidarity with #WitsFeesMustFall #WitsFees protest.

University is free in other countries. There's an increase in #WitsFees because of the governments incompetency to provide. Don't blame wits

The fact that the fee increase isn't a burden to you shouldn't prevent you from recognising its impact on others. #WitsFees

They thought they were burying us but they didn't know we were seeds! ✊🏾 #WitsFees #WitsFeesMustFall pic.twitter.com/UYu6eDZGcc