Wits university students protest. Picture: ANTONIO MUCHAVE
Wits University students protest. Picture: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

UNIVERSITY of Witwatersrand (Wits) management has until noon on Tuesday to meet the demands of its student representative council (SRC), following the suspension of student registration because of protests.

The university said on Monday that "face-to-face" registration would continue on Wednesday. It said most students would still be able to register online.

Wits student representative council president Nompendulo Mkatshwa spearheaded student protests at the university’s hall 29 on Monday, where onsite registration was meant to take place.

She told parents and students at the time that the council would not permit any students to register until management met their demands.

The council is demanding free registration on the implementation of a first payment plan for all academically qualified students. They are also demanding a road map from both government and the university for a realisation of free education.

"We will be handing over our memorandum of demands to the university management and we will give the university 24 hours to respond," she said on Monday.

"Our intent is not to render these institutions ungovernable ... our intent (is) to ensure that every academically qualified student registers in the year 2016. An injury to one is an injury to all."

New 2016 protests

Several university students took part in the protest in Gauteng on Monday, including those from the University of Johannesburg (UJ), the University of SA (Unisa) and the University of Pretoria.

The protest follows last year’s countrywide student demonstrations against fee increases for 2016.

Following the protests President Jacob Zuma announced that there would be no increase in fees for the year.

Wits said in a statement that the historical debt of all students who were on the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) in 2015 would be settled by the state.

"Students who were not on NSFAS in 2015 will unfortunately be obliged to clear their debt before they will be allowed to register," the university said.

Protest action in several universities in the province is expected to continue on Tuesday.