Sasco calls for Jansen's resignation
Cape Town - The SA Students Congress (Sasco) on Wednesday called for the immediate resignation of vice chancellor of the University of the Free State, Jonathan Jansen.
"Ever since his installation as vice chancellor of the University of the Free State (UFS), Prof Jonathan Jansen has leapt from one disaster to another," Sasco said in a statement.
"Instead of providing leadership to the institution, Prof Jansen has resorted to dictatorial tendencies."
This followed the UFS's decision to suspend the student representative council (SRC) and its elections later this month and to ban any further activities by student party-political formations on campus after disruptions during the UFS and North West University's intervarsity sports contest.
Protesting SRC members and students from Sasco disrupted various netball and hockey matches, which led to the cancellation of some sport events last Friday.
Sasco said the suspension of "only black members" of the SRC was "racist and anti-transformation".
It called for the immediate withdrawal of charges against student leaders.
Charges against the SRC members were feeble and represented a witch-hunt, it said.
"This re-enforces our long-held view that this institution simply refuses to transform and the installation of a black vice chancellor was nothing but cosmetic make-up," said Sasco.
"He (Jansen) continues to behave as though he is a stooge of the white elite within the institution, rather than act as an agent of change."
The student congress said this was its last warning to the UFS and if this was not heeded, there would be a spate of unprecedented protests at the university.
"We view this attempt to muzzle the student movement as a declaration of war by the university to which we will respond with all that we have," said Sasco.
"We believe that it is shocking that after 16 years after the collapse of the apartheid regime the institution uses apartheid terror tactics to silence organisations."
UFS dean of student affairs, Rudi Buys, rejected Sasco's claims that the suspension of student leaders was racist.
"It's a ridiculous claim. All student leaders involved were suspended, irrelevant of their colour."
He said the interdict the university applied for was against all students taking part in disruptive protests.
"These threats (by Sasco) are simply an example of the type of engagement that has led to disruptive protests and the dysfunctionality of student politics on campus," said Buys.
"It is ridiculous to ask the rector to resign, he has made the right decisions."
Buys said the student transformation forum, which the university was putting in place, was proof the student movement was given due recognition.
Jansen announced on Tuesday that the forum would be established as a consultative body for students to reach agreement on the structures and content of student governance on the Bloemfontein campus.
Buys said no university staff member or management would be part of the forum and it would be mediated by someone outside the university.