State Violence and Austerity

The Forge invites you to an online live-streamed discussion on the theme of state violence and austerity. 

In focus will be the Wits students’ protest and how police/the state respond to student protest and to protest in general. Also, under discussion will be the issue of austerity in South Africa. With the ongoing pandemic and March being Human Rights Month, the matter of human rights in relation to public health will be embedded. 

Photograph: Gsalamander, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Watch the stream


Wednesday 17 March 2021




Professor Catherine Burns, Associate Professor of Medical History at the University of the Witwatersrand; educated at WITS, the Johns Hopkins University, and Northwestern University, where she earned her PhD in History. Her research interests focus on medical and health history, the history and ethnography of reproduction and sex, ethics in biomedical research, and the history of gender in southern Africa. 


Busi Sibeko is a researcher at the Institute for Economic Justice. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Duke University and a Masters in the Political Economy of Development from SOAS, University of London. Busi’s current research focus is macroeconomic policy, including tax justice, fiscal and monetary policy, and participatory budgeting to advance socio-economic rights. 

Stanley Malematja is an attorney at the Right2Protest Project, which is based at the Centre for Applied Legal Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand; Lecturer at Wits School of Law; 2020 M&G top 200 (Law & Justice).

Professor Salim Vally is Professor at the University of Johannesburg’s Education Faculty, the Director of the Centre for Education Rights and Transformation and the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) Chair in Community, Adult and Workers’ Education.