The Student Representative Council (SRC) of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), together with its “constituents”, will embark on a hunger strike, starting 7am on Tuesday.
In a statement issued on Monday evening, the SRC said the hunger strike would “show this university that we are willing to risk our lives in order to restore the dignity of the black child and open up access to institutions of higher learning”.
The hunger strike follows protests on campus on Monday, which the SRC alleges were precipitated by management reneging on agreed upon concessions relating to student accommodation and registration of students with historical debt.
“In shutting down the campus, Wits University management responded by deploying private security on campus to violate students and continue to victimise and intimidate students. We have also been informed that they are planning on deploying the police force [on Tuesday] and judging from past experiences with the police being on campuses, the level of violence is one that can never be justified,” read the statement.
“When we said we would be the first line of defence for our students, we meant it. Therefore we are now resorting to actively putting our bodies on the line by embarking on a hunger strike. This struggle has still not come to an end, as there are still several students sleeping in libraries who are academically deserving but unable to register.”
The news of the hunger strike spread quickly on social media.
Wits students chose the most peaceful forms of protest, #witshungerstrike and study occupation, and are still being subjected to brutality by private security under Management’s instruction. This doesn’t get reported on. Only destruction of property so students can be villainised
— narcisista (@Neo_url) February 5, 2019
Wits students are dramatic. There is no such thing as free education apply for NSFAS #WitsHungerStrike
— My nigga called me Russell Simmons💎 (@witnessjack11) February 5, 2019
Where are the people who cannot register or find accommodation ? Majority of the people protesting are those who have registered and have accomodation. It is sad to see people putting their lives on the line for others who don’t even want to take part in the #WitsHungerStrike
— Obvious Nomaele (@SkhumbaNoms) February 5, 2019
— shaazia ebrahim (@shaaziaebrahim) February 5, 2019
-ANA, editing by Desiree Erasmus