Wits University to resume with learning in a bid to save academic year

University management says their top priority at this stage is to save what’s left of the 2016 academic year.

Wits University is quiet ahead of the start of classes on 11 October 2016, a day after violent clashes between protesting students and police. Picture: Thando Kubheka/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Despite disruptions and violent clashes between protesting Wits University students and police, the institution says it will resume with learning today in an effort to save the 2016 academic year.

Police and protesters were locked in running battles yesterday, which spilled into the streets of Braamfontein.

Officers used stun grenades and tear gas in an effort to disperse students, who were trying to enter Solomon Mahlangu House.

The university management says their number one priority at this stage is save what's left of the 2016 academic year.

While it's relatively calm this morning, chaotic scenes played out yesterday, which saw at least 10 people including a pastor being injured.

Some students have already started making their way to class this morning.

Security personnel is stationed at the entrance of the institution inspecting each vehicle that enters the premises.

Wits deputy vice-chancellor Tawana Kupe says the university remains committed to engaging students.

"What have a responsibility to do, and we've got tons of letters and advise and support coming from South Africans and our partners on the continent and elsewhere, saying please do everything you can do to ensure that you don't wash down everything that has happened this year."

Meanwhile, security has been reinforced at the university following yesterday's violent clashes between protesting fees must fall students and police.

A number of police officers are stationed here outside Solomon Mahlangu House which is where protesting students are expected to gather again this morning.

The university says its given police operational control of the institution. Police will be deployed to each building to maintain peace and stability.

Some students here are already making their way to class as the private security and police monitor the situation.

STUDENT LEADERS WANT WITS TO REMAIN CLOSED

At the same time, tudent leaders at Wits University say they want the campus to remain shut down, not only for their demands to be met but also for the safety of those on campus.

During clashes, a police Nyala drove through the streets where rubber bullets were being fired to disperse various groups spread across the area.

Cars trying to make their way into and out of the Johannesburg CBD were pelted with stones and other objects, including a bus that was set alight.

The students were retaliating to private security and police using rubber bullets and stun grenades when they tried to gain access to Solomon Mahlangu House.