Protesting Wits students disrupt classes

The students have also moved to libraries, ordering non-protesting students to come out.

Students matching on the Wits campus on 10 October 2016. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Protesting Wits University students are now moving through campus disrupting classes.

The students say they will not allow classes to resume on campus today as per the university's instruction.

On Saturday, the university decided that academic activity should resume on Monday following weeks of disruptions.

The students have also moved to libraries, ordering non-protesting students to come out.



The protesters are being led by Anglican Bishop Joe Seoka.

University management warned protesting students against disrupting classes, saying those found to be doing so may face suspension.



Meanwhile, p olice officers are on high alert. The university has asked staff and students to return to classes once the protesters have moved on.

ARRESTS

Police arrested two protesting students at the university, who were allegedly carrying sticks.

The university has confirmed classes have been disrupted at its Parktown and Braamfontein campuses.

An officer says protesting students are violating the rights of others.

"They are harming students in classrooms, the point is they are physically removing people from classrooms with sticks; we can't allow that."

CALLS FOR ZUMA TO STEP IN

The South African Council of Churches has called on President Jacob Zuma to treat the #FeesMustFall protest as an urgent matter and not just an issue of law and order and security force engagement.

General Secretary Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana says: "It should not be treated as law and order matter only, which is what it seems to be. It's public policy issue. It needs governmental engagement, not only security force engagement."

Mpumlwana says Zuma must consider addressing the nation on the matter.

"Even if he will go on public television just to say to the nation you recognise that this is a very serious matter now because we only have one week, it's one week, if we don't resolve this within this week, we've lost the year."

UNIVERSITY TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST VIOLENT PROTEST

The university says that those who want to continue with protests on campus must do so peacefully and in designated areas.

Spokesperson Shirona Patel says: "Any person who intimidates or threatens another student or staff member may suspended. We're completely opposed to violent protests and anyone carrying rocks, stones, weapons or any other weapon that can destroy property or incite harm will immediately be examined and may be suspended."

She says those using items to conceal their identity will also have to answer to authorities.

While student leader Mcebo Dlamini has described these conditions as draconian, he says the shutdown continues.

"The decision of the students is a firm one, we continue with the shutdown up until our demands are met. There's no way which Wits University can open, it has to remain shut."

The university says there will be rigorous control measures at the entrance of the university and have urged staff and students to carry their access cards.