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Amid student protests, Wits says it can’t financially assist all needy students

A group of students disrupted some classes earlier on Thursday and blocked roads leading into the university with rocks.

A group of Wits University students staging a small demonstration at Solomon Mahlangu House on 5 February 2019. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - While Wits University students have vowed to intensify their protests, the institution says it simply does not have the financial capacity to accommodate everyone in need of assistance.

A group of students disrupted some classes earlier on Thursday and blocked roads leading into the university with rocks.

Student are demanding accommodation and that those with historical debt be allowed to register.

Classes resumed in the afternoon at Wits after protests flared up.

While students have vowed not to back down until their demands are met, the university’s spokesperson Shirona Patel says the institution only has limited funds to help those in need of assistance.

“We are fundraising day by day but we can’t help every single person who requires help.”

Patel says the university is also in talks with the City of Johannesburg to assist with student accommodation.

“The city [should] give us the buildings, let’s renovate them [and] let’s work together to create more student accommodation in the medium and long-term.”

A small group of students continued to gather outside Solomon Mahlangu House where they have been blocked off from entering the premises by private security guards.

Police were standing a few metres away closely monitoring developments.

#WitsHungerStrike: Students embark on a hunger strike

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)