Lectures at Wits resume with heavy police presence

The university says it will continue with its academic programme today despite protests.

FILE: A small group of Wits university students hold hands as they joined campus staff who protested over issues of employee outsourcing on 28 October 2015. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - There's a heavy police presence at Wits University this morning as the university tries to continue with its academic programme amid protests.

Yesterday, a small group of students and workers blocked entrances to the campus demanding an end to outsourcing.

This morning there are eight police vehicles parked outside the Empire Road entrance and another five outside the Yale Road entrance, with several police officers patrolling on foot.

#FeesMustFall #Wits 8 police vehicles at Empire road & another 5 at Yale road. Officers also on foot. No sign of protesters. GN

Campus security guards are clearing debris on campus, and picking up bins that were overturned yesterday.

The university is adamant to keep the campus open so that lectures can resume and examinations can proceed.

Officials say they have been trying to engage with the protesters, as well as the workers who are against outsourcing, as the majority of students want to return without any disruption.

ACADEMIC PROGRAMME TO CONTINUE

The university says it will continue with its academic programme today despite the protests.

Vice Chancellor Adam Habib is expected to meet with representatives of workers who want the institution to employee them directly, with benefits.

Currently, the cleaning staff are contracted by external companies who do not provide benefits such as pension and unemployment fund or medical aid.

Yesterday, around 200 students protested alongside the workers and blocked access to the institution.

Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel says, "Classes will continue and there were no incidents reported overnight. The police are still there. They were there overnight and will be at each entrance this morning to keep it open."

LISTEN: Adam Habib 'disappointed' over continued student protests