Support for ‘UKZN 15’

2015-10-30 10:43
UKZN students sing and dance outside the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court. (Sabelo Nsele, The Witness)

UKZN students sing and dance outside the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court. (Sabelo Nsele, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - The 15 University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg campus students who were released on warning on Thursday vowed to continue with their call for free education.

The students were arrested on Wednesday and charged with public violence and intimidation.

They will appear in court again on November 30.

There was jubilation at the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court when the “UKZN 15” were released.

A group of about 40 UKZN students who attended court to support the students sang and danced outside court.

The blazing sun did not smother the spirits of the students, some of whom arrived at the court at 08:00.

They used an ice cream container to fetch drinking water as the 15 students were only released after 15:00.

The “UKZN 15”, all kitted out in red T-shirts with the words “Wobites, the ultimate trendsetters” printed on them, joined in the singing.

Students Representative Council (SRC) chairperson Star Radebe said they had chosen the T-shirts not to “politicise the students’ revolution”.

“They were handed to students who reside at the William O’Brien residence (WOB) by the university, so we decided to use them.”

Radebe said they will continue with their call for free education.

“We have got the support of the academic staff, and there are also individuals who are supporting our struggle,” he said.

Adult education lecturer Anne Harley, who had come to support the students, said the students deserve support for their call for free education.

“The students are fighting for education which is their right. They deserve support because they are not just fighting for themselves but they are fighting for a bigger social good,” she said.

Harley said government can find ways to fund free education.

“Just tax the rich,” she said.

Mandla Nsele, who had come out to support his son, said the students deserve free education.

“How do you expect them to pay for education because they are just students, and we as parents are struggling?

“This issue of the National Students Financial Aid Scheme is also problematic. Our kids are drowning in debt before they can find a job,” he said.

Nsele also complained about the timing of the arrest of the students.

“It is towards exams now, this will distract our kids,” he said.

Nsele called for a dialogue between parents and the university to interrogate the students’ demands. “When the students started protesting, the university should have informed us. When our kids were being shot at, nobody informed us.

“They might be over 18 but they are still our kids.”

Nsele complained that he had lost two trading days as he had to close his tuck shop in Imbali. “I have been here since this morning and my shop is closed. I will also not get the chance to order today which means I will have to do it tomorrow. That means I will have to close my shop again.”

Read more on:    ukzn  |  pietermaritzburg  |  education  |  university fees

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