Medunsa classes – and protests – will resume

2014-08-10 15:00

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Classes are set to resume tomorrow at the University of Limpopo’s Medunsa campus in Ga-Rankuwa after it was closed down this week following two weeks of violent student protests.

The university’s management said it was forced to suspend lectures and disband the campus students’ representative council (SRC) on Wednesday after students damaged about R1.5?million worth of property.

But the disbanded SRC secured a court interdict on Thursday night against the university’s closure after the student body agreed it would stop all violent protests and harassment of staff members.

SRC leader Malosi Marakalala on Friday told City Press that students would keep protesting from tomorrow – but promised they’d be peaceful.

The students’ two major complaints are that some lecturers are allegedly deliberately failing them and that the university’s name is to be changed from Medunsa to Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University.

Students who spoke to City Press said they couldn’t understand why a former politician’s name would be used for a medical institution.

News of the reopening came as a relief to many of the 4?000 students, who on Wednesday left the campus with bags of clothes and textbooks tucked under their arms.

Fifth-year medical student Mulamuli Memutadoni from Venda said the protests should continue – and so should the academic year.

Memutadoni said many outsiders thought medical students were just “nerds” who only cared about books.

“We’re not just nerds here, we know when we’re being ill-treated and we stand together when other students are being victimised,” said the 22-year-old.

“We’re not protesting just because we can. We want to make sure that all future students do not face the same problems we have been facing since 2011, when we first made some of the demands. We are frustrated because many of us fail without actually knowing how we failed. We study hard, but are failed,” said Memutadoni.

Like many students, Memutadoni refused to name particular instances where lecturers had allegedly deliberately failed students.

Masego Sedikoe (19), a first-year medical student, said many were frustrated by a “stubborn” university management that did not want to honour its commitments to the students.

Medunsa’s spokesperson, Kgalema Mohuba, said police would continue investigating incidents of violence that had left windows broken and the campus entrance damaged.

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