Ex-judge, Nelson Mandela Foundation offer mediation in varsity 'crisis'

2016-02-26 20:35
Security guards keep watch over a statue at the UFS in Bloemfontein.  (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

Security guards keep watch over a statue at the UFS in Bloemfontein. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

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Johannesburg – Former Constitutional Court Judge Yvonne Mokgoro – with the chief executives of the Nelson Mandela and Ahmed Kathrada foundations – is spearheading a search for solutions to the violence at universities.

They have joined forces to offer independent mediation, conflict resolution and facilitation services to universities and student movements during what they described as the tertiary education "crisis", the Nelson Mandela Foundation announced on Friday.

The help will be provided under the title #AccessThuto, meaning "access education".

Mokgoro said the violence at universities had reached a crisis point.

"We have now reached a crisis point that compels us to act to help neutralise what is happening at universities. I urge students, management and rectors to show restraint and use our services to curb the levels of conflict," Mokgoro said.

The issues that needed to be addressed include managing violence, leadership, transformation, the role of parents, peace-building and justice, as well as the management of dialogue, the foundation said.

It said the movement would not attempt to replace institutional measures by the government and universities, but would provide additional support services, in particular when there was a deadlock between parties.

On Monday, a brawl broke out after a group of protesters disrupted a Varsity Cup rugby match at the University of the Free State.

Last week, University of Pretoria students clashed over the institution's language policy and on Friday the University of Western Cape reported graffitied slogans of "hate speech and racism" at its campus.

Protesters also burned buildings at North West University's Mafikeng Campus during the week.

Read more on:    education  |  protests

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