Wits poll underway

Wits poll underway

The University of the Witwatersrand is polling students and staff on the possible resumption of academic activities.

Wits campus_jacanews
Photo: Maryke Vermaak

The aim of the poll is to determine how many students and staff want to resume academic activities on Monday, 3 October.


"This is an opportunity for you to have your voice heard regarding the resumption of the academic programme," Wits management said.


Academic activities were suspended after student protests over fees disrupted classes.


Protesting Wits students on Wednesday evening lost a court bid seeking to interdict the university from running a poll.


Student leaders, with the help of Advocate Dali Mpofu, approached the court to halt the referendum, rather seeking a student assembly or a student parliament to receive feedback from students and staff.


They argued that Vice-Chancellor Adam Habib would intimidate staff to vote for classes to resume.


The poll is taking place from 7.00am until 4.00pm.


Here are some guidelines from Wits:


1. How will the poll take place?

For students - Wits will send an SMS at 07:00 tomorrow to all students. Students should reply to the SMS replying YES or NO.

For staff - A link to a website will be circulated via email to staff members (excluding sessional, honorary, retired and visiting staff, external examiners and Emeritus Professors) with instructions of how to log in and respond. 

Line managers can share this link via WhatsApp or SMS with their staff. Staff should log in and respond.

2. Is it anonymous?


The poll is anonymous.


3. Will the poll be audited?


The results will be verified by SizweNtsalubaGobodo, one of the top five auditing companies in the country as the IEC cannot assist with this process.

4. Can I vote more than once?


The systems will filter the results to ensure that only one vote per person is counted.

5. Do students have to pay for the SMS?


Students will not have to pay for the SMSs. However, students will be required to have at least 30 cents worth of airtime loaded on their cellphones for the SMS system to work.


6. What if I have an international cellphone number on the system?


Students with international cellphone numbers will also be accommodated.


7. What happens if the systems go down?


We have tested the IT systems and they are fully operational. If systems go down at any time, we have a team of technicians on standby to fix it.  


8. Is it a poll, a vote or a referendum?  

It is a poll to gauge the views of students and staff that will enable the University to make better decisions concerning the resumption of academic activities.

9. Can alumni and parents participate in the poll?


No. Alumni and parents can share their views via [email protected] or on any of Wits' social media channels.


10. What about other questions that students would like to be polled?


Only one question will be asked in the poll. There are multiple other platforms for engagement, and the sooner the University gets back to normal, the better we can engage.

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