Angry students disrupt Moseneke's convention

2017-03-18 12:08

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Johannesburg - The opening sessions of the national education crisis forum had to be temporarily suspended on Saturday morning after angry students disrupted the session by throwing chairs and water bottles at each other.

The forum, which has been convened and planned over months under the leadership of former Deputy Justice of the Constitutional Court Dikgang Moseneke, is taking place over the weekend in Midrand, Johannesburg.

Other convenors include former Justice Yvonne Makgoro, Prof. Mary Metcalfe and Sello Hatang from the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Close to 1000 student leaders, university vice chancellors, parents and civil society organisations who have spent months in consultation in the various provinces over the crisis in higher education are also present.

The opening session got off to a rocky start as student delegations arrived two hours late and refused to hear from Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande and shouted with every mention of his name.

The convention was first disrupted after students refused to let AfriForum speak first as per the prior agreement that all student delegations will have a turn to talk in alphabetical order.

Moseneke said in his opening address that they are serious about creating a safe space for dialogue, but that this requires a certain level of discipline and preparedness to listen to others.

“True revolutionaries who want to change society … one of the gifts you pray for is the gift to listen to others and opinions that are different to your own. The better you listen, the better your ability to respond. Listen to each other respectfully. Here we would like to give everybody the opportunity to speak without being shouted down,” he said.

The EFF student leader who was first to speak said it was unfair that students present were being treated as everyone else as they are the most important stakeholders at the convention and should be treated as such.

“We are not going to make submissions, the vice-chancellors must give us feedback on what they have been doing for free education since 2015. The meeting must have a stance on insourcing. Black families are dysfunctional because of the system,” she said.

The convenors are currently consulting with students as to the best way to continue with the programme.

Read more on:    dikgang moseneke  |  higher education  |  feesmustfall

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