Profs enable release of four students

2016-10-17 10:45
Some staff and academics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Pietermaritzburg campus recently held a peaceful picket on Alan Paton Avenue to show support for the #FeesMustFall campaign. The staff made posters and banners calling for better government funding of higher education, the release of arrested students and an end to the violence on campuses across the country.

Some staff and academics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Pietermaritzburg campus recently held a peaceful picket on Alan Paton Avenue to show support for the #FeesMustFall campaign. The staff made posters and banners calling for better government funding of higher education, the release of arrested students and an end to the violence on campuses across the country. (File)

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Lecturers helped to secure the bail of four University of KwaZulu-Natal students and then offered them sanctuary in their own homes.

The four students — Minenhle Sibiya, Ntabankeka Kopedi, Lindokuhle Hlongwa and Samukelisiwe Noluthando who were part of the “UKZN 11” — were released on bail of R1 000, but were banned from campus, including their Pietermaritzburg student residences, except to write tests and exams or attend lectures.

The four, whose families live in other parts of the province, were released on the understanding that they will live in alternative addresses off campus — which have now been identified as the homes of lecturers and a civilian.

By opening up their homes to the students the lecturers, who are part of the “Prof of Protest” movement that has shown support for students under the #FeesMustFall banner, were instrumental in securing their release.

Speaking to The Witness, one lecturer, who asked not to be named, said the group was approached by the students’ defence attorneys earlier last week.

“Literally the only way to secure the bail was for alternative addresses to be provided to the court because the students were barred from living on campus.

“Most of the arrested students live on campus and have family homes far away,” the lecturer said.

“We were approached to help find alternative accomodation in and around Pietermaritzburg.

“We are not condoning the violence, but this is a situation where we were able to intervene.”

The lecturer said the group are trying to rally the support of others to find accomodation for eight other students due to appear in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court today, for judgment in their bail application.

“This is something we will do for all the arrested students.

“They are young men and women who have had an incredibly difficult time,” the lecturer said.

“If we did not help, they would be in prison or would have had to return to their homes, which would make finishing the year impossible.”

The group are also calling for donations of food and toiletries for the students.

Meanwhile, the KZN Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and the Select Committee on Education and Recreation said they believe criminal elements have crept into the student protests.

The committees have mandated both their chairpersons to engage with the Speaker of the National Assembly and the chairperson of the National Council of Provinces to find a suitable role for the legislature in efforts to find lasting solutions to the current challenges.

Read more on:    #feesmustfall  |  pietermaritzburg

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