Habib: Wits won’t remove security until students guarantee no violence

Adam Habib says they can’t remove police from campus until student leaders commit to peaceful protests.

FILE: Wits University vice chancellor Adam Habib talks to student representatives during protests at the institution over proposed tuition fee increases. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Wits University vice chancellor Adam Habib says it would be irresponsible to remove private security and police from campus without a guarantee that the 2016 academic year will resume.

However, student leaders demand that the institution be demilitarised, with many saying the heavy police presence only aggravates tensions on campus, often resulting in violent outbreaks.

Just this week, student leader Shaeera Kalla was injured when she was struck by more than 10 rubber bullets on Thursday, student leader Busisiwe Seabe and others were also injured when police opened fire with stun grenades and tear gas.

WATCH: Moments leading up to the shooting of Shaeera Kalla and others

The vice chancellor says they cannot remove police from campus until student leaders have given a solid commitment to protest peacefully without disrupting the academic programme.

"No violence, no arson and no disruption of the academic programme. They've refused to do so and as long as they refuse to do so, we cannot [remove security from campus]."

Habib says he's shocked that Kalla was struck by more than 10 rubber bullets and he's waiting for the outcome of an Ipid probe.

"I am told the police have been investigating the matter and I hope they conduct a speedy investigation."

Seabe was discharged yesterday while Kalla remains in a stable condition in hospital.


At the same time, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) will hold a stakeholder meeting later this evening to map the way forward with regard to the rest of the year's academic programme.

Based on a revised security assessment, varsity management says classes will remain suspended till further notice.

Earlier, fees related protest action resulted in large scale fire damage done to the infrastructure on the university's Bellville campus.