Media release

Government saddened by the passing of a worker at Wits

27 September 2016


27 Sep 2016

Government extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of the contract worker at Witwatersrand University who died last week. The campus worker fell ill after protesting students released a fire extinguisher in Jubilee Hall residence.

Students at Wits University started protesting against a proposed fee increase last week following Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande's pronouncement that universities could decide on fee increments for 2017 as long as they were capped at 8%.

Acting Director-General, Donald Liphoko, said, “This is a heartbreaking incident and it is absolutely intolerable that a worker who was serving students has lost their life in the name of social protest. Government reiterates the call for students to refrain from using violent protests when seeking solutions to peacefully address their grievances.”

Government has made every effort to address the concerns of students and to stabilize the destructive and violent reaction from the students. Government leadership, including the highest office, has consistently called for students to remain calm and raise any issues through the appropriate platforms.

Government reinforces its call for calm and encourages students and stakeholders to use the appropriate platforms to raise their concerns. Students are reminded that government remains committed to working towards free post-school education for the poor and working class. The work of the Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training is continuing and students are urged to allow the process to unfold.

“South Africans must remember that they all have a responsibility to conduct themselves within the confines of the law and to ensure the safety of all those around them,” said Liphoko.

Enquiries: Donald Liphoko
Cell: 082 901 0766

Issued by Government Communication and Information System

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