Protesting Wits students say institution will remain shut down next week

Wits University students say they will use this weekend to mobilise more support.

Zwelinzima Vavi addresses students at Wits University after he was invited by the FMF movement. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Wits University students say they will ensure that the institution remains on lock down until their demand for free higher education is met.

Yesterday, students marched on Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) House, calling on the labour federation to support the nationwide fees must fall protests.

Demonstrations erupted earlier this week on several universities across the country shortly after Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande announced that tuition fee hikes will be left to individual varsities.

He also announced a government subsidy for poor and missing middle students.

Wits University students say they will use this weekend to mobilise more support adding that their protest for free higher education continues next week.

One of the student leaders, Busisiwe Seabe, says the institution will remain on shut-down.

"We'll be further closing down the university for another week, starting from Monday next on."

Seabe says they will use this weekend to strategise for their next plan of action.

"We're saying to the public that we're also calling on their support."

The university's management says it may consider the closure of its residences if the situation doesn't improve.


Zwelinzima Vavi has called on all trade unions in the country to embark on a general strike in support of students fighting for free higher education.

Vavi visited Wits University yesterday, where he addressed protestors.

He has called on South Africa's working class to throw their weight behind the students as they continue to demand free tertiary education.

"We support the demands of the students for free quality education, now."

He says it's a myth that the country cannot afford free education adding that government is wasting money on unnecessary projects.

"That's where the money is supposed to be coming from, stop wasting money on commissions. We don't need a commission."