Dikgang Moseneke to preside over Wits general assembly

A general assembly will be held tomorrow to focus on the principle of full access to higher education.

FILE: Dikgang Moseneke. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - As Wits University makes the final preparations for its general assembly to discuss the prospects of free education, student leaders say the institution's Vice-Chancellor Adam Habib will not be allowed to chair the meeting because he is a "criminal".

However, Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel has clarified that the general assembly at the institution has always been presided over by the Chancellor, and that will once again be the case on Friday. The Chancellor of Wits is former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke.

On Tuesday, the institution shut down its campuses for the remainder of the week following talks with former student leaders, SRC and members of the clergy.

The university has reiterated it doesn't want the 2016 academic programme to be compromised and that classes will resume tomorrow, regardless of the outcome of tomorrow's meeting.

Following a meeting between the university and former and current student leaders, it was decided a general assembly will be held tomorrow, and focus on a consensual position on the principle of full access to higher education.

The assembly is expected to be attended by students, former student leaders, academics, parents and struggle stalwarts such Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

STUDENTS CLASHES

While the university has welcomed the commitment from students not to resort to violence, it said yesterday's confrontation between those protesting and those wanting to attend lectures is regrettable.

A group of #TakeBackWits supporters had their placards ripped up and snatched by another group who accused the supporters of white privilege and arrogance.

As the #TakeBackWits supporters made their way to the Great Hall for a silent protest, they were met by resistance from another group of students who want the university to remain closed.

After disruptions to their silent protest, the group then dispersed under the guard of campus security.

But one supporter said they are unapologetic.

"There are many people who are sitting at home who feel exactly how we feel."

FeesMustFall leader Vuyani Pambo has questioned the group's motives.


"They say to us this morning that they are taking back Wits University. We have drawn one conclusion from that, it is that they are taking Wits back to white hands."

The two groups will meet again on Friday at the institution's general assembly.

WATCH: Opposing student groups clash at Wits