Zuma’s higher education meeting ends in shambles

By Drum Digital
03 October 2016

The Higher Education imbizo called by President Jacob Zuma ended on a sour note when he left the meeting early.

The Higher Education imbizo called by President Jacob Zuma ended on a sour note with student leaders refusing to continue dialogue with ministerial and university management in his absence, when he left the meeting shortly after his speech.

Student leaders disrupted Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande’s speech and demanded for Zuma to come back and not go to Luthuli House where he was set to attend another meeting.

Wits University activist Nompendulo Mkhatshwa told Nzimande that everyone who was present had stopped their schedules to come to the meeting and Zuma should have done the same.

“Everyone sitting here left everything they were doing to come here and speak about a national crisis. Comrade Blade, President Zuma must come here and help you so he can feel the heat that you have been feeling the whole year,” she said.

Despite Nzimande trying to resolve the situation and urging students to listen to further dialogue, student leaders continued to protest for Zuma’s return.

A student leader from the University of Cape Town also gave an impassioned plea for the President to return to the meeting, saying he left his colleagues protesting and being attacked by the police to sit at an expensive tea party.

During the dialogue, there was a new wave of #FeesMustFall protests with Rhodes University, the University of Cape Town, the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology staging a complete shutdown.

At Rhodes University, students were pulled out of lectures, while UCT students blockaded all entrances to the university.

At UKZN, students were demanding the release of students arrested over the weekend during protests and those who had been expelled to be allowed to return to university. Protests have continued despite attempts by universities to resume academic activity this week.

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