Protesting Wits students vow to bring Joburg to a standstill

Wits SRC president Mpendulo Mfeka said they would be joined by students from other institutions and their lawyers were working on an application for direct access to the Constitutional Court to demand that government be forced to provide free and decolonised education.

Wits University students protesting on 9 March 2021, over registration issues according to the student representative council. Picture: @Wits_SRC/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG – Wits Student Representative Council (SRC) President Mpendulo Mfeka said students would bring Johannesburg to a standstill on Friday, and other universities in the city would be joining their protest for free education.

On Thursday, the students marched to the African National Congress's (ANC) headquarters, as well as the Constitutional Court, to hand over their list of demands.

READ: Govt will ensure demands are met, ANC's Magashule tells protesting Wits students

They are also preparing to take legal action to force government to delivery on its many promises of financial support over the years.

Mfeka said their lawyers were working on an application for direct access to the Constitutional Court to demand that government be forced to provide free and decolonised education.

He said it was likely that this application would be launched next week.

“We have a number of lawyers that are currently working on the matter, and we are encouraging every lawyer who has an activist in them to try and reach out to us to help in launching this application. Every lawyer in this country must play their role. They must stop sitting comfortably in their offices and play their role in ensuring that we have more lawyers, and they get access to higher education so that there can be more people who get liberated in this country.”

In the meantime, students are expected back on the streets of Johannesburg on Friday morning, joined by others from nearby higher education institutions.

‘POLICE STILL ACT LIKE WE DON’T MATTER’

Protesting Wits students say the death of 35-year-old Mthokozisi Ntumba was another blatant display of brutality by the very people paid to protect others in this country.

WATCH: 'There were some images we weren't ready to see' - Ntumba's cousin

Students delivered a memorandum of demands at the Johannesburg central police station on Thursday.

Wits academics also joined protesting students and laid a formal complaint against the police following Wednesday's demonstrations, which turned deadly.

ALSO READ: South Africans must stand against police brutality

The students said they have had enough of the heavy-handedness that black protesters receive from the police.

Mfeka said: “His death was unfortunate, and it speaks largely to the police brutality in our country right now. The violence [meted out] on people who are protesting or trying to make their demands heard by either the government or any sector of society is an alarming one.”

WATCH: There was overreach by the police - Ramaphosa

Wits academics stood in solidarity with students. One man at the protest said: “Fees have not fallen, when I say we have unfinished business – the police still act like we don’t matter.”

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