Me­dunsa classes – and protests – will re­sume

CityPress - - News - XOLANI MBAN­JWA xolani.mban­jwa@city­

Classes are set to re­sume to­mor­row at the Univer­sity of Lim­popo’s Me­dunsa cam­pus in Ga-Rankuwa af­ter it was closed down this week fol­low­ing two weeks of vi­o­lent stu­dent protests.

The univer­sity’s man­age­ment said it was forced to sus­pend lec­tures and dis­band the cam­pus stu­dents’ rep­re­sen­ta­tive coun­cil (SRC) on Wed­nes­day af­ter stu­dents dam­aged about R1.5 mil­lion worth of prop­erty.

But the dis­banded SRC se­cured a court in­ter­dict on Thurs­day night against the univer­sity’s clo­sure af­ter the stu­dent body agreed it would stop all vi­o­lent protests and ha­rass­ment of staff mem­bers.

SRC leader Malosi Marakalala on Fri­day told City Press that stu­dents would keep protest­ing from to­mor­row – but promised they’d be peace­ful. The stu­dents’ two ma­jor com­plaints are that some lec­tur­ers are al­legedly de­lib­er­ately fail­ing them and that the univer­sity’s name is to be changed from Me­dunsa to Se­fako Mak­gatho Health Sciences Univer­sity. Stu­dents who spoke to City Press said they couldn’t un­der­stand why a for­mer politi­cian’s name would be used for a med­i­cal in­sti­tu­tion.

News of the re­open­ing came as a relief to many of the 4 000 stu­dents, who on Wed­nes­day left the cam­pus with bags of clothes and text­books tucked un­der their arms.

Fifth-year med­i­cal stu­dent Mulamuli Memutadoni from Venda said the protests should con­tinue – and so should the aca­demic year.

Memutadoni said many out­siders thought med­i­cal stu­dents were just “nerds” who only cared about books.

“We’re not just nerds here, we know when we’re be­ing ill-treated and we stand to­gether when other stu­dents are be­ing vic­timised,” said the 22-year-old.

“We’re not protest­ing just be­cause we can. We want to make sure that all fu­ture stu­dents do not face the same prob­lems we have been fac­ing since 2011, when we first made some of the de­mands. We are frus­trated be­cause many of us fail with­out ac­tu­ally know­ing how we failed. We study hard, but are failed,” said Memutadoni.

Like many stu­dents, Memutadoni re­fused to name par­tic­u­lar in­stances where lec­tur­ers had al­legedly de­lib­er­ately failed stu­dents.

Masego Sedikoe (19), a first-year med­i­cal stu­dent, said many were frus­trated by a “stub­born” univer­sity man­age­ment that did not want to hon­our its com­mit­ments to the stu­dents.

Me­dunsa’s spokesper­son, Kgalema Mo­huba, said po­lice would con­tinue in­ves­ti­gat­ing in­ci­dents of vi­o­lence that had left win­dows bro­ken and the cam­pus en­trance dam­aged.

We’re not just nerds here, we know when we’re be­ing ill-treated and we stand to­gether when other stu­dents are be­ing vic­timised


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