Johannesburg – The Foundation for Education and Social Justice Africa on Wednesday called on Witwatersrand University (Wits) management to first lift suspensions imposed on student leaders before any talks to end the protests can take place.
The foundation said it was “aware that the Vice-Chancellor plans to call students back to the table but If the university is serious and wants to negotiate in good faith, they must consider bringing all the student leaders back to campus”.
The foundation added: “Students should also not agree to enter into negotiations with the institution unless all their student leaders are present.
“There is no doubt that the SRC [Student Representative Council] was elected legitimately by the students and any attempt to side-line some within the student leadership should be rejected from the outset.
“The foundation also calls on the university to find a way to address the shortfall created by NSFAS in relation to accommodation allowance.”
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The foundation said accommodation was expensive and “students will not be able to close the deficit hence the university should step in with a view to balance the sheet”.
The foundation added: “We also know that students need to study in a conducive environment for learning.
“‘At the same time we appeal to protesting students not to play into the hands of the enemy by threatening to burn the house of the Vice-Chancellor.
“‘Such calls for arson are unfortunate and we call on students to exercise caution. Students need ongoing support to make it in the system.”
The foundation said it was also concerned about the violent protests that students were engaged in during the last two weeks.
“The visit to the VC house by students demonstrates that students are really frustrated and want the issues to be resolved and the demands to be addressed without delay,” said the foundation.
“The foundation will write an urgent letter to Wits management, where we will request the university managers to bring back the suspended students before negotiations can resume.”