ANC, alliance jointly beg students to return to class
JOHANNESBURG — The ANC’s secretary general Gwede Mantashe, together with its alliance secretariat, have called for university students to go back to class.
In a joint statement issued on Sunday, secretaries general of the ANC, SACP, Cosatu and Sanco said they met and deliberated on the current crisis in higher education, amongst other matters.
“The alliance supports the legitimate struggle of students for free education for the poor and we reaffirm our collective commitment to the progressive realisation of this goal. We urge the Heher Commission to conclude its work speedily.”
ANC alliance partners said they were concerned about the damaging long-term impact that the closure of institutions of higher learning would have on students and society. “Should the academic year be postponed, some of the potential consequences include matriculants not being accommodated during 2017 and a shortage of new graduates in fields such as medicine. We urge . . . students to go back to class and to complete the academic year.”
The alliance said it also urged students to protect their academic infrastructure and to desist from violence and destruction of public property.
Meanwhile, the case against #FeesMustFall leader and former Wits SRC president Mcebo Dlamini was postponed in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court yesterday.
Prosecutor Steven Rubin said the case needed to be postponed to today so that Dlamini’s address can be verified.
The court heard that Dlamini had provided police with his Wits University residence address.
Rubin said this address could not be accepted because the institution would be closing in a matter of weeks.
Dlamini’s lawyer Mongezi Ntanga said he had provided his mother’s address. This address would be verified by police, Rubin told the court. Dlamini would remain in custody at the Cleveland police station. He faces charges of public violence, theft, malicious damage to property and assault.
Dlamini seemed calm while standing at the dock yesterday morning. He was dressed in a green hoodie with a black and white keffiyeh around his neck. He occasionally looked back into the public gallery, in search of familiar faces.
Ntanga told the court that Dlamini had to be released because he was writing an exam today.
Magistrate B Roux refused his request after Rubin said Dlamini had not attended most of his classes.
Roux then asked if Dlamini had experienced any problems while in custody. He was told by Dlamini’s lawyer that he could not remain in police cells because he has asthma.
Roux said Dlamini needed to consult with his lawyers to receive medication.
Outside the courtroom, at least 50 students remained outside awaiting Dlamini’s release. They left soon after Dlamini was taken back to the court’s holding cells.
Dlamini was arrested in the early hours of Sunday morning at his residence at Wits University. — AFP