'Voetsek!' UWC students boo SRC off stage as rector intervenes

2015-11-03 15:49
UWC students dismantle a gate ahead of a planned meeting hosted by the SRC at the athletics stadium. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

UWC students dismantle a gate ahead of a planned meeting hosted by the SRC at the athletics stadium. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - The University of the Western Cape Vice Chancellor Tyrone Pretorius had to duck after a bottle was thrown at him while addressing students on Tuesday.

Earlier, the cracks between the students and Student Representative Council (SRC) showed when SRC chairperson Akhona Landu and her fellow members were booed as they made their way to the stage. Moments later, she too had to duck as an object was hurled at her.

The crowd, however, started cheering as members of the Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania (Pasma) starting moving forward.

- Read more: UWC 'rogue elements' lambasted

The athletics stadium and track at UWC has been filled almost to capacity ahead of a meeting to be hosted by the SRC. Initially planned for the university's main hall, it had to be moved as a number of students still waited to gain access.

The aim of the meeting was to give feedback to students of meetings held with management, Landu told News24.

When finally allowed to speak, Pretorius asked the students: "How did we arrive at this point? I see all the fingers pointed at me.

"My commitment to all of you is that together we shall not let the sun set tonight unless we have systematically dealt with all your grievances," he said, and finally managed to get a cheer from the crowd.

He committed to an urgent meeting with #FeesMustFall and the SRC.

UWC rector Tyrone Pretorius addresing the crowd. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

‘Voetsek’

Students sang "voetsek, fokof" as Landu tried to address them.

One of the #FeesMustFall leaders, Rosa Mandyoli, said they mobilised the students, and therefore wanted to address the crowd.

"This meeting is degenerating," Landu tried again as the crowd continued booing her off the stage. "Your plea was to be heard."

The SRC members were seen leaving the meeting a while later.

"Our fight was never with the SRC," Mandyoli said.

He asked for students to be calm as Pretorius addressed them. "The father of this broken house must speak to his children."

Pretorius picked up on this, asking students if they were prepared to leave the past behind and help to fix things. But not long after students claimed they were unarmed, a bottle flew toward him.

"Don't pick up bricks and sticks to undermine your legitimate demands," he warned, before giving an undertaking that there will be "some form of agreement" by the end of the day.

Mandyoli said the movement will not be violent. "Our fight is for free education. Our rector may not be able to give it to us, but he can give us free registration."

Students gathered at UWC's athletics stadium. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Read more on:    uwc  |  cape town  |  education  |  university fees

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