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