Wits students mobilise to tackle 'militarisation' of campus

Earlier today, security and students pelted each other with stones, before stun grenades were used.

A member of the private security tasked to block students from entering Senate House on Wits University campus picks up a brick to throw back at protesting students. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) students representative council (SRC) President Kefentse Mkhari says their aim now is to deal with what they have described as the "militarisation" of the campus.

Earlier today, private security and students pelted each other with stones with rubber bullets and stun grenades being used.

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Students across the country have reacted with anger to the announcement that universities may increase fees, but only up to eight percent.

Wits Students are expected to meet for another round of talks at Solomon Mahlangu House.

Wits students had earlier met to discuss the way forward after violent confrontations with private security, which saw some students and journalists injured.

Mkhari says they will meet again to discuss the presence of private security on campus.

"Students are mobilising and we're trying to deal with this issue of police on campuses, because now we feel that we don't have free movement, we're being policed and we find this very problematic. It shows you how the university uses its autonomy to silence the community."

Yesterday, the university said campus activities would continue, but students said they could not continue until they have free education.


Meanwhile, Mkhari refused to be drawn into sharing how students plan to deal with "the militarisation of their campus".

Demonstrators accused the University of using force to silence them and prevent them from meeting at Solomon Mahlangu House.

Mkhari says they won't share their plans with the media because they are being policed.

"We've very sceptical of exposing our strategy because we're being policed."

Earlier today, 31 students were handcuffed after blocking the main entrance and refusing to allow cars to drive in.