NOTE: Article first appeared in The Citizen newspaper on April 4, 2014.
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Wits entered their second day of occupation on the 11th floor of the Senate House building at Wits University in Johannesburg yesterday.
The student branch of the EFF on Wednesday occupied vice-chancellor Adam Habib’s office in protest against its lack of recognition by the university as a society.
Security moved the EFF members from the office the following morning, which is when they relocated to the Senate House, with a constant security presence.
Habib said the security measures were put in place as “a precaution to ensure that the occupation doesn’t get out of hand”.
Vuyani Pambo, EFF Wits chairperson, said the occupation would only come to an end once the EFF’s Wits group was recognised as a university society on campus.
“”Every day that passes frustrates our political programme,” he said.
The EFF had followed all the right channels and had interacted with both the SRC and the dean of student affiars, Pamela Dube, on various occasions, yet their application was still rejected, he said.
Reports have indicated that the EFF was not registered because they submitted their application late to the SRC.
“These are lies. This is a tactic,” said Pambo.
He said that the group went into action when they discovered that their application would have to wait until next year.
Habib said the university intended to launch an investigation into the matter, which would be completed today.
On the indefinite period of the occupation, Habib said that students are “free to occupy any public space, as long as they obey the rules”.
However, he added that the EFF group were being unreasonable” as their gripe was with the SRC, and not him.
Habib was away in Pretoria when the students took over his office. He initially engaged with them publically during their occupation of his office live on twitter. Their hashtag #EFFoccupation has gained traction on the social media site.
Pambo said that their “soft radical action” would escalate if the university didn’t engage them today or at latest on Monday.