JOHANNESBURG – Protesting students at University of Witswatesrand (Wits) were engaged in running battles with public order police at the main campus in Braamfontein today, this after bringing the resumption of classes to an abrupt halt earlier in the morning.
At least two students were arrested in the morning amid skirmishes as police resorted to firing stun grenades to disperse protesting students.
One of the arrested was Busisiwe Seabe, a member of the Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command (EFFSC), and one of the #FeesMustFall activists and protest leaders at Wits.
Seabe told journalists from the back of the police van that she was arrested for “asking too many questions”.
“I was asking the police about the details of the arrested student so that we could alert his family and relatives. They just said I should stop asking questions…” Wits University was closed last week following violent protests by students who are demanding free tertiary education.
On Friday, 77 percent of students at Wits voted
“YES” in an online poll on whether or not to resume lectures on Tuesday this week. However, only 45%of the student population responded to the poll.
EFF chairperson, advocate Dali Mpofu, addressed Wits students after the disruptions of classes, saying their call for free education was attainable.
“I am here not wearing any political hat. We are here as concerned citizens, and parents. We call anybody who is listening, whether you’re a former student or a parent, we are calling anybody who will listen to come here and not rely on the media,” Mpofu said.
“This is your struggle, no one must be allowed to take it over. We will not judge you. If the police want to shoot our children then they must shoot us first.”
One Wits student asked why vice-chancellor, Professor Adam Habib, had manage to address the media but not the students.
“They say we must come to school and we come, but they are shooting us. Habib needs to be a father and come address us. We need honesty, we need clearance, not police coming to shoot us,” she said.