Court victory for suspended Wits students

Court victory for suspended Wits students

The High Court in Johannesburg has set aside the decision by Wits University to suspend seven students, including six EFF-affiliated students, from the university.


"The decision by the university to suspend the applicants is set aside," Judge Motsamai Makume said.

He said the students should be allowed access to all the university's facilities.

Makume said however that the process of the SRC elections at the university, which are currently under way, would continue as planned.

This meant the students, and the EFF, would not be able to participate in the elections. Makume said the university had to convene disciplinary inquiries for the students within 10 days.

He would provide the reasons for the order at a later stage. The application followed the suspension of the students following a scuffle during an SRC election debate last week Tuesday.

The university had also revoked the recognition of the EFF Student Command on campus, before later reinstating it.

Meanwhile, Wits has responded to the court ruling, see their statement below:

“Dear Colleagues/Students

''Yesterday an application was brought before the South Gauteng High Court by the national leadership of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) against Wits University for an interim order interdicting:

the decision by the University to suspend certain Wits EFF student society members from the University;
the decision by the University prohibiting Wits EFF candidates from contesting in the 2015 Wits Students’ Representative Council (SRC) elections;
the conducting of the SRC elections.
Today the Court found that the SRC elections should continue, and that the prohibition of the Wits EFF candidates from contesting in the 2015 SRC elections should remain in place. The University is appreciative of this ruling and the SRC elections will continue as planned.

The Court further found that the suspension of students from the University should be set aside and that the disciplinary procedures for these individuals should be convened within 10 days. The University is more than willing to comply with the time stipulation regarding the disciplinary procedures. We disagree with the ruling regarding the lifting of the suspensions, given that the evidence suggests that these students broke the Code of Conduct for Students by engaging in or threatening physical altercations, and the fact that the University has an obligation to protect the safety and security of its students, staff and visitors. However, the University will respect the decision of the Court.

The University would like to put this matter behind us so that we can focus on our core activities of teaching, learning, research and social engagement.

As the SRC elections proceed, we trust that all members of the University community, and the students and student societies in particular, will conduct themselves in a proper manner within the rules of the University''.

Professor Adam Habib
Vice-Chancellor and Principal
Wits University
26 August 2015″

(File photo: Gallo Images)

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