‘War’ com­ing to NWU

CityPress - - News - S’THEM­BILE CELE sthem­bile.cele@city­press.co.za

The sus­pended EFF SRC pres­i­dent at North-West Univer­sity (NWU) Mahikeng cam­pus has vowed to bring war to the in­sti­tu­tion, start­ing with a mass demon­stra­tion to­mor­row at its Potchef­stroom cam­pus.

“We are go­ing to or­gan­ise the high­est level of mass demon­stra­tion that has ever been seen be­fore. I will be in Potchef­stroom this week­end or­gan­is­ing. On Mon­day we are hit­ting Potchef­stroom by storm,” said for­mer SRC pres­i­dent Benz Mabeng­wane.

He said he would also fight the three-year sus­pen­sion the univer­sity had slapped on him.

Thou­sands of stu­dents were left stranded on Thurs­day when the univer­sity gave them three hours to leave af­ter vi­o­lent protests. Stu­dents dis­rupted the in­au­gu­ra­tion of an SRC ap­pointed by man­age­ment af­ter it dis­solved the elected body and clashed with pri­vate se­cu­rity.

They torched build­ings and a num­ber of stu­dents and staff were in­jured.

An­gry stu­dents called for their aca­demic pro­gramme to be con­tin­ued at the Vaal and Potchef­stroom cam­puses.

“If they say Potch is not racist then they must use us as a barom­e­ter. They must take us there. We are all stu­dents of the univer­sity,” said BA com­mu­ni­ca­tions stu­dent and Sasco branch sec­re­tary Din­gaan Lo­rathu.

Many stu­dents said they had no racial con­flict at Mahikeng cam­pus.

Third-year education stu­dent Michael Whittaker said: “I com­pletely un­der­stand what the protest ac­tion was about and, as a stu­dent, I sup­port it be­cause we must be able to elect our own lead­ers, but I don’t un­der­stand at the same time why things had to es­ca­late the way they did.

“I have never at all felt threat­ened or un­wanted be­ing one of a few white stu­dents here. But this sud­den evic­tion is a chal­lenge for me be­cause I can’t af­ford to go home to Jo­han­nes­burg now.”

Sasco urged the univer­sity to re­open the un­dam­aged part of the cam­pus.

Its pres­i­dent, Thabo Moloja, said stu­dents shouldn’t be sent to other cam­puses. “I don’t sup­port the fact that be­cause stu­dents at Mahikeng burnt the univer­sity down and it’s closed, they must now go to Potchef­stroom.”

PHOTO: FELIX DLANGAMANDLA

Build­ings were set alight at North-West Univer­sity’s Mahikeng cam­pus this week af­ter stu­dents protested against the sus­pen­sion of a for­mer SRC leader

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