University of Witwatersrand holds poll on resumption of lectures

African News Agency (ANA)

University of Witwatersrand holds poll on resumption of lectures
Wits #FeesMustFall students are defying police instructions and have broken the "No go" tape. Stun grenades and tear gas fired by police to move the students back. Photo: CICA

The University of Witwatersrand was on Thursday scheduled to hold an electronic poll to determine whether lectures should resume next week.

“Students and staff are strongly encouraged to participate in a poll that takes place today. This is an opportunity for you to have your voice heard regarding the resumption of the academic programme,” the university said in a statement.

The process would be overseen by an auditing company after the Independent Elections Commission of SA (IEC) indicated it would not assist the university in conducting the poll. Students would be sent a text for which they should reply “yes” or “no” while staff would receive an email with instructions on how to log in and vote, the institution said.

The referendum would take place between 7am and 4pm.

The Wits student leaders were unsuccessful in their bid to stop the referendum from going ahead. They approached the high court on Wednesday night to urgently interdict the university referendum. The court ruled against the students and indicated that everyone’s voice needed to be heard.

Meanwhile, the University of Johannesburg condemned its private security personnel’s behaviour after they beat up students and journalists during a protest on Wednesday. Video clips posted on social media showed guards charging at protesting students, assaulting them and journalists covering the protests. The guards also used pepper spray. A journalist was seen with his head bleeding profusely after guards attacked him at a petrol station.

University campuses have been rocked by protests since last year as students demanded free higher education. An announcement by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande that fee increases for 2017 would be capped at eight percent brought another wave of protests as students demanded a no fee increase until government implemented free higher education.

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SOURCEAfrican News Agency (ANA)