‘Students feel ignored’

2015-10-10 09:11
Red Ants charge demonstrators during protests at the University of Durban Westville.

Red Ants charge demonstrators during protests at the University of Durban Westville. (Ian Carbutt)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pietermaritzburg - Pinning the blame for the recent student unrest on the new University of KwaZulu-Natal vice-chancellor Albert van Jaarsveld would be unfair, said political analyst Xolani Dube.

Van Jaarsveld assumed his duties in February and soon afterwards students went on the rampage, protesting over issues relating to National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) and student accommodation.

Less than six months later, the university has experienced violent protests which broke out last month and have dragged on for over four weeks.

Students have caused millions of rands in damage to university property.

Although the main focus in the students’ memorandum was on the Registration Appeals Committee (RAC) process, the issues relating to Nsfas and student accommodation still formed part of the grievances.

Dube said even under the management of previous vice-chancellor Malegapuru Makgoba, violent protests were a regular fixture at the university.

Dube said the reason for the continuation of protests year in and year out was management’s failure to deal with the issues raised by students.

“It is a clear indication that executive management and Nsfas are not learning from previous years. Management must deal with reality.”

With students’ representative council (SRC) elections around the corner, Dube said he did not see anything untoward with the timing of the students’ protest.

“I know people like to link the strike with the SRC elections. Look, it is normal for students to strike for what they believe in. They do not only strike at the end of the year, they also strike at the beginning of the year,” he said.

“It’s not like Sasco, Sadesmo and other students’ bodies are fighting each other. The students are united in this.”
The South African Democratic Students’ Movement, Democratic Alliance Students’ Organisation and Economic Freedom

Fighter Students Command all supported the strike at UKZN.

In the past years, UKZN has seen protest action in August, September and October.

Provincial South African Student Congress (Sasco) secretary Phinda Mofokeng concurred with Dube that the strike had not been motivated by the upcoming SRC elections.

“Those issues we are talking about are five years old. We have been talking about them. It’s not like we are bringing them up for the first time,” said Mofokeng.

UKZN spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said the university could not set a date for the SRC elections because of the student unrest.

Dube said the reasoning behind the students deciding to strike before the end of the year were justified.
“They are preparing for next year to make sure that they have a smooth start,” he said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  ukzn  |  student protests

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.