Students at the University of the Witwatersrand are confused after the incoming Student Representative Council (SRC) backtracked on its decision to shut the university down.
During a mass meeting at Wits called by the Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command (EFFSC) led SRC on Thursday, a shutdown was announced for 6am on Friday morning. Six hours later, the SRC sent a statement to students reversing that position.
In the statement the SRC said the “number of students present at the mass meeting did not represent the holistic demographics of the university,” and thus there would not be a shutdown.
The SRC said its “decision is final” and said “students should continue studying in the libraries and computer labs in order to fully prepare for exams. Exams will continue as planned.”
It blamed the calls for a shutdown on “certain individuals within and external to the university” and said it wouldn’t be careless and excited by them. They said they would pronounce a program of action and would be “taking it to its logical conclusion”.
Meanwhile Azra Karim, a member of the Progressive Youth Alliance and incoming Wits SRC said she was shocked when EFFSC said they would shut down because the PYA-led SRC had been called out for shutting down over the past two years. “They have been preaching since election time that the first thing they would do is shut down and render this university ungovernable,” she said.
After the EFFSC backtracked on their plan to shut down Karim said she believed they were not following their consultative leadership mandate where students asked them to shut down at the mass meeting.
EFFSC declined to comment further on the matter.
Some students were not happy by this and complained on social media that they were not being listened to.
— Nokukhanya 💥 (@Nokukhanya_2405) November 3, 2017
#WITSShutdown it is very clear that students are just pawns in grand political game… Wits EFF have taken Students for fools 💔
— Tshegofatso Mangwedi (@c_tshego_moon) November 3, 2017
UCT exams were disrupted today & no student complained. What so special about Wits exams?
A revolution is not a honeymoon!!! #witsshutdown
— Vusimuzi_Ntombela (@CallMeVoto) November 2, 2017
Others did not know whether they should continue studying for the year-end examinations, or whether a shutdown would happen after all.
— zz (@cupcake_zm) November 2, 2017
— zuhayr (@zuhayr10_) November 2, 2017
Other students said it better this way so they could write their exams without worry.
hearing the news of the #witsshutdown cancellation made my night. All the best with your exams wits Academic soldiers, soldier on guys
— Masie Thapelo (@papi_911) November 2, 2017
Wits University SRC : We have decided to call off the planned #WitsShutdown.
Wits Students: pic.twitter.com/6htaSBBzYM
— The Philosopher (@Abel_Nkosinathy) November 3, 2017