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Wits students vote to head back to school from Monday

The majority of Wits students support going back to class on Monday.

FILE: Students at Wits protest on campus after Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande failed to deliver a free tertiary education policy. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Wits University has voted to reopen classes on Monday.

A total of 21,730 voted, 16,739 voted 'yes' while 4,991 voted 'no'.

The poll was held yesterday, to gauge whether students wanted to continue the 2016 academic programme - despite the fees must fall demonstrations.

One of the country's leading firms, SizweNtsalubaGobodo audited the poll and provided the interim results.

Yesterday, SMSes were sent to students and staff who were asked to vote if they want academic activities to resume on campus if adequate security is provided.

The university says most students received the poll, except for some whose phones were switched off or their details had not been updated on the system.

WAY FORWARD

The results of the poll as well as feedback from parents, alumni and other stakeholders will inform management's decision-making.

Management will also reach out to the student leadership, unions and other stakeholders to engage on a way forward.

A decision as to whether the university will re-open on Monday will be communicated to students and staff via official university communication channels this weekend.

THREATS TO 'MAKE SA UNGOVERNABLE'

On Monday, Wits University SRC President Kefentse Mkhari warned that they would render the country ungovernable, if government didn't heed their call for free education this week.

Students and religious leaders met at the university's Solomon Mahlangu House over the weekend to discuss the current crisis at tertiary institutions.

Violent protests erupted at Wits last week, with running battles between private security and students on campus.

WATCH: Rocks and rampage at Wits University

Students also marched to Cosatu house where they called on the trade union federation to join their struggle for free education.

Mkhari said among their plans this week is to approach the South African council of Churches and taxi associations to support their cause.

"Right now we want free education and if government won't commit itself to giving us free education, we will run this country ungovernable."

Former SRC President Mcebo Dlamini said they had spoken to the 52 unions that left Cosatu and will be led by the National Union of Metalworkers to stage a national shutdown.

Additional reporting by Ziyanda Ngcobo.

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