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Habib cites safety concerns as reason for postponing general assembly

The meeting, which was to address the funding crisis at universities, was called off today.

FILE: Wits University vice-chancellor Adam Habib. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Wits University vice-chancellor Adam Habib says one of the reasons today's general assembly had to be postponed is because the university could not guarantee the safety of those attending.



The meeting, which was aimed at addressing the funding crisis at universities, was called off this morning.

Habib says despite a mediation meeting going into the early hours of this morning, no consensus could be reached.

"When a university's senate and council puts its entire energy behind a stake as significant as this, it's a dramatic statement to make."

A council meeting is expected to be held at Wits University to decide on the future of the 2016 academic year.

Habib says there were too many unresolved issues for a council meeting to be held.



The vice-chancellor adds he could not risk the safety of those who were expected to attend today's proceedings by pushing ahead.



Students have responded to today's developments, saying they are disappointed in the manner in which the university had handled the meeting.

The university's student representative council is expected to hold its own briefing.

BAD FAITH

Student leader Mcebo Dlamini has accused Habib of acting in bad faith by postponing today's meeting.

But Dlamini has reiterated that the university will remain shut until their demands are met.

The #FeesMustFall movement is calling on Wits University management to officiate a shutdown until government commits to free education for all immediately.

Furthermore, the movement has called on Habib to join in a march to provincial and government sites as a sign of support.

The group is also demanding that the university file class action at the Constitutional Court against government, should it fail to deliver.

The student movement wants universities in the country to do away with the levy instituted for international African students.

University management says it will postpone the general assembly until consensus is reached and the conditions for the meeting are met.

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