UCT stu­dents de­mand 'TRC', fees re­duc­tion at in­sti­tu­tion

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Gender/worldwide -

CAPE TOWN — UCT stu­dents will only stop protest­ing if a “TRC” com­mis­sion is es­tab­lished by to­day and man­age­ment com­mits it­self to re­duc­ing fees at the in­sti­tu­tion.

Protesters were will­ing to open the campus on Monday, Oc­to­ber 10, only if “phase one” of a Truth and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion process for ex­pelled stu­dents was es­tab­lished by Satur­day, SRC can­di­date Mlin­gani Mati­wane told a jour­nal­ists and stu­dents on the campus’s Jam­mie (Marikana) plaza on Thurs­day.

The first phase would in­volve set­ting up the com­mis­sion, choos­ing dates, and elect­ing me­di­a­tors to over­see it.

The campus had been closed since Wed­nes­day, fol­low­ing al­ter­ca­tions with pri­vate se­cu­rity guards on Tues­day night.

Mati­wane said man­age­ment de­cided to open the univer­sity on Oc­to­ber 3 with­out an agree­ment be­ing reached on the “TRC”. Protest­ing stu­dents also wanted man­age­ment to agree in prin­ci­ple to free ed­u­ca­tion at the univer­sity.

Vice chan­cel­lor Max Price said on Tues­day the univer­sity agreed in prin­ci­ple to set­ting up an “in­sti­tu­tional rec­on­cil­i­a­tion com­mis­sion”. They could not af­ford to lose a week of classes so late into the aca­demic year.

A per­son in the crowd wanted an ex­pla­na­tion for those op­posed to the protests why ex­pelled stu­dents de­served a rec­on­cil­i­a­tion process.

UCT’s #FeesMust­Fall move­ment spokesper­son, Si­nawo Thambo, said the de­struc­tion of prop­erty on campus was a re­ac­tion to the univer­sity’s “in­sti­tu­tional vi­o­lence”.

“If you think how Shackville was de­stroyed, that was an at­tack on stu­dents who were peace­fully set­ting up a shack. So it was a re­sponse by us.”

An amnesty process was needed to con­tex­tu­alise why cer­tain things hap­pened, and not to con­duct a sim­ple crim­i­nal anal­y­sis which ab­solved the univer­sity of re­spon­si­bil­ity, he said.

“It’s not just for the stu­dents who sup­pos­edly burnt things out of nowhere. The in­sti­tu­tion will also be held ac­count­able.

“Why did they de­ploy pri­vate se­cu­rity to peace­ful protesters? Why did Max Price not en­gage the protesters? It will be an in­ter­ro­ga­tion of why vi­o­lence comes at an in­sti­tu­tional level from UCT.”

Mati­wane and Thambo were crit­i­cal of the use of pri­vate se­cu­rity guards on campus this week. They said they had a list of charges they would lay against them if they had the re­sources to do so.

One of the charges would be at­tempted mur­der. They claimed a pri­vate se­cu­rity of­fi­cial used a car to push a stu­dent onto the M3.

They re­jected Price’s state­ment that most stu­dents wanted to get back to their stud­ies. They said a poll he used to base his state­ment on was not con­ducted in any for­mal way.

On Septem­ber 28, Price said fac­ulty polls showed be­tween 80 per­cent and 90 per­cent of the stu­dent body wanted to re­turn to class the fol­low­ing week.

The two stu­dent lead­ers said the white ma­jor­ity of stu­dents would over­look the prob­lems of the black mi­nor­ity. They said no build­ings were dam­aged at the univer­sity dur­ing Tues­day night’s clashes, as in­ac­cu­rately re­ported by the me­dia.

Three UCT stu­dent ac­tivists were granted bail to­talling R2 500 by the Wyn­berg Mag­is­trate’s Court on Thurs­day.

Mean­while, Cape Penin­sula Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy (CPUT) Vice Chan­cel­lor Dr Prince Nevhutalu on Fri­day an­nounced an 8 per­cent in­crease in fees for 2017 for the 10 per­cent of stu­dents who can af­ford it. —

The other 90 per­cent, he told an as­sem­bly of stake­hold­ers at CPUT’s Bel­lville campus, are stu­dents who ei­ther have NSFAS loans or fall in the “miss­ing mid­dle” bracket; stu­dents whose par­ents earn less than R600 000 a year.

The govern­ment will sub­sidise the in­crease for these stu­dents, he said.

“We have to be log­i­cal. If we had said 0 per­cent in­crease, there would be no sub­sidi­s­a­tion from govern­ment for any stu­dents, rich or poor,” Nevhutalu said.

“Eight per­cent is still not enough but given time and space we can in­crease our in­come.”

Nevhutalu also said the univer­sity was look­ing at in­creas­ing salaries of clean­ers and gardening staff to R5 000 a month.

He said the univer­sity Coun­cil told man­age­ment to in­ves­ti­gate the pos­si­bil­ity for out­sourced and in­sourced staff. — AFP

Univer­sity of Cape Town stu­dents protest on campus as part of the Fees Must Fall move­ment. AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.