Strong police presence at Wits despite agreement

Protesting students don’t want police on campus, saying they have a right to protest for free education.

Fees must fall protests sees Wits university shut down after clashes with police. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - There's a heavy police presence at Wits University this morning despite an announcement by the institution to remove security from its campuses.

Last night, the university announced it had reached an agreement with mediators to suspend academic activity for the remainder of the week.

This came after a day of running battles between police and protesting students.

At least two police officers, a lecturer and some students were injured during violent confrontations.

After Wits management held a meeting with former leaders of the Black Students Society, the SRC and religious leaders yesterday, the university promised to withdraw police from all its campuses.

But a strong police contingent can be seen at the university this morning. A water canon was also seen arriving.

WATCH: Students shut down Wits University

Some students are going about their business, with some making their way to libraries.

Remnants of yesterday's violent clashes can still be seen but cleanup operation are underway.

Protesting students don't want police on campus, saying they have a right to protest for free education.



Students pelted rocks and stones, one officer was carried out on a stretcher while another was seen bleeding from the head.

Meanwhile, Vice-Chancellor Adam Habib says he'll support the students protest, as long as the academic programme continues.

"Disrupting the programme could destroy the future for 36,000 other students and that's not fair."

Police and security guards are expected to be on high alert this morning.

At the same time, vice-chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission, Terry Tselane says he attended the protests yesterday, in his capacity as parent and wits alumni.

"We've establish an organisation, which is trying to assist students who are poor and who are facing challenges within the university. And therefore for me this was just the progression of the same programme that we've started with student leaders to try to resolve ways of dealing with education crisis in our country."