Wits SRC claims Habib doesn’t care for students’ well-being

A group of Wits students are protesting over accommodation and their treatment by the university's management.

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

JOHANNESBURG – Wits University’s Student Representative Council (SRC) says the poor living conditions at some campus residences show vice chancellor Adam Habib's disregard for the well-being of students.

On Wednesday morning, a group of students blocked the university's Empire Road entrance, protesting over accommodation issues.

According to the SRC, earlier this year students were moved from Wits residences which was closed down and moved to new locations.

The SRC now says the affected students have been denied what they call basic services such as cleaning services and computer labs.

They also claim that university management has threatened to evict students who have not received their National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) payouts and paid for accommodation as yet.

The protesting students were due to hand over a memorandum to the dean of students.

SRC president Kefentse Mkhari says, “We have NSFAS which a lot of students within these particular residences were accepted on the basis that they had applied to NSFAS, not that NSFAS had confirmed whether they are going to pay. NSFAs has not paid, and the university is reminding students that they have not paid.

Mkhari says they approached the university’s vice chancellor on the matter.

"We went to (Vice-chancellor Adam) Habib to tell him we must write a statement together, he said it is not yet time.”

Earlier, Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel said classes had not been disrupted and would continue as normal.

"Students will hand over a memorandum, which they will do to the Dean of Students."

Patel said the university had additional security on scene. She asked students and lecturers to use alternative entrances.

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)