Wits University suspended face-to-face registration on Tuesday following the return of the #FeesMustFall protests. Prospective and returning students were turned away and encouraged to register online. Students from outside Johannesburg were left stranded as they had no alternative plans for accommodation. The Wits SRC and members of the FMF movement vowed not to back down until their demands are met. Students spoke to MBALI ZWANE about their frustration about the university’s decision.
Odwa Abrahams, 22, 3rd year law student
The movement is very close to my heart and I know there’s no formula to revolution but there is a better way of doing things. We should force the university to allow all students to register, not close [the] gates on us. I’m concerned about the way things are turning out we’re not sure what direction the movement is taking. We should be logical. I’m one of many people who came from places as far as the Eastern Cape and other provinces. Fortunately for me, I’ve got family here. What about those who don’t? Those who probably have R100 in their pockets with no place to sleep tonight? I wish I could close my eyes and open them when a miracle happens.
Mkhosi Xulu (18), matriculant/prospective student
I passed very well. I got seven distinctions and the university accepted me for medicine. I arrived yesterday from Mtubatuba in KwaZulu Natal to register but I was disappointed when I got here. A relative from Germiston is housing me but the whole thing is really an inconvenience. It’s the second day I’m standing outside the university, waiting to register. A part of me feels like the movement is selfish but on the other side, what they’re fighting for will benefit me. I cannot pick a side. I’m still trying to get funding to study. This must end so I can register.
Andani Khomola, postgraduate education student
I’m staying on campus and currently writing my deferred examinations but the movement must continue, aluta continua! Worldwide, the struggle for free education is being championed and it’s important because education is an investment in human capital. The more educated people we have, the better the citizenry. It’s necessary to put pressure on the university and management, they’re encouraging people to register online and that is frustrating the movement. I feel like we should get people to hack into the system and crash it.
Mmalethabo Malele, 21, 3rd year psychology student
At this moment I feel like the movement is being selfish and I don’t understand what’s going on. Some people come far; going back home is not an option and they don’t have accommodation. What must happen now? Now they have to worry about registration, accommodation and food. I’m pretty sure they were not prepared for what has happened. The movement is delaying registration and the academic year, classes are scheduled to start on February 8. Last year the movement made sense and I was for it. I don’t know where I stand right now.