Wits poll a tactic to deter the movement, say protesters

Wits University will hold an electronic poll tomorrow to decide whether the academic programme will resume next week.

Student leaders and #FeesMustFall protesters have expressed their opposition to a university-wide poll due to run tomorrow calling it a way to divide and slow down the movement.

The university issued a statement on Tuesday, September 27, saying that many students and parents have expressed concerns about the closure of the institution. University management have therefore decided to carry out an electronic poll for students and staff tomorrow to gauge how many individuals favour a reopening next week Monday, October 3.

The Wits SRC have rejected the referendum with SRC General Secretary, Fasiha Hassen tweeting that “the referendum is insulting. We cannot reduce the fight for free education to a yes or no question”.

She also tweeted “#HabibsReferendum is not a democratic process. Those who have the most to lose have the least access to the poll”.

Tyron Vavi* a first year BA student who has been participating in the protests said the referendum was “autocratically instated” and “has not been brought to the house, we have not put our views in it and every point on it has not been agreed to or disagreed upon”.

Vavi said should the university reopen, divisions and perhaps violence will occur. He said “people who can afford to come, want to come and people who can’t afford to come, still want to come, but can’t at the end of the day”.

Earlier today, Wits Vuvuzela also reported that the protesting students who marched to the Chamber of Mines said that they will attempt to interdict the university-wide poll. Former SRC President Mcebo Dlamini is quoted as saying, “We engage with our lawyers Dlamini Attorneys and Dali Mpofu will help”.

The poll will run from 7am to 4pm on Thursday and will take place over SMS or via a website link and the results will be audited by independent firm, SizweNtsalubaGobodo.

*Names have been changed.

Related Articles:  Wits Vuvuzela, Chamber of mines to consider student demands, 28 September 2016

Wits Vuvuzela, #HabibsReferendum takes a spicy turn, 28 September 2016

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