Students, CPUT 'must talk'

2009-08-06 21:03

Cape Town - National Assembly higher education and training committee chairperson Marius Fransman on Thursday urged the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) council and students to resolve their disputes through discussions.

Briefing the media at Parliament, Fransman said the type of unrest seen at the university's campuses over the past few days was "just not on".

"Yesterday [Wednesday] was... a very sad day for the Cape Town side of the university of technology, because that whole cafeteria was just laid barren in the way people ransacked it.

"The actions we've heard of and observed yesterday is uncalled for, it is unacceptable and it doesn't serve [their] cause. And the cause, I think, there's justification in the cause."

Will speak to students

Fransman said he would be speaking to the students and the leadership of the university council.

"We are calling on the student bodies to raise their issues critically, diligently, but to give leadership to their support base.

"And it's just a no-go on the type of vandalism that we've seen over the last couple of days.

"We're calling for mature leadership, as the parliamentary committee, we're calling for mature leadership from those student structures."

The students had indicated they believed management "is not sitting around the table with them", he said.

"On the side of the council, the council will be meeting tomorrow [Friday]... and we are saying to the council and the management of CPUT, it is just not on that there's not very direct engagement between the management and the students."

60% hike in registration fees

He would raise the issue of "understanding" the current economic situation with the council and rector.

"... Can we have an increase in the registration fees from R2 500, R2 700 to R5 000 in one go?

"And we are calling on the parties to swing to go and sit around the table," Fransman said.

Earlier on Thursday, it was reported that CPUT students were back in class following the violent protests that resulted in the arrest of several students.

The students protested on Wednesday at the Cape Town campus against a proposed 60% registration fee increase.

Staff flee campus

Staff at the campus fled their offices as students clashed with police.

This was the second time violence flared on the campus this week.

Fransman said the committee intended to invite representatives from the National Students' Financial Aid Scheme, the universities, and students to a meeting next week to discuss the problems of financial aid for students.