Tuks can afford to pay for security but not for its students – Wenzile Madonsela

2016-02-23 07:34
Wenzile Madonsela (Facebook)

Wenzile Madonsela (Facebook)

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Public Protector's daughter injured in university language protest

2016-02-22 15:38

Wenzile Madonsela, an outspoken Economic Freedom Fighters student leader on the main campus, said the verbal attacks on her and her fellow protesters were of an extreme racist nature.WATCH

Pretoria  The general secretary of the student branch of the EFF at the University of Pretoria, Wenzile Madonsela, has questioned the logic of the institution hiring a private security company while claiming it is not able afford to financially assist needy students.

“How can you say that you don’t have money to put students in residences and give them financial aid but you can spend R2 million on bouncers to victimise students on campus?” asked Madonsela, who is the daughter of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

“The university has failed the students. The university has hired bouncers on top of Fidelity [guards], using R2 million a month to control us as the Economic Freedom Fighters and other students who are engaging in any protest.”

Madonsela said students would continue fighting until they achieved their goals. She accused the university of failing to assist students.

But spokesperson for the university, Anna-Retha Bouwer, refuted the claims and said the institution was doing a lot to assist the financially needy students.

“The university has been looking at many ways to assist financially needy students in ways such as low cost accommodation, transport and meals,” she said.

Beefing up security

Junior Ackotia, a member of SA Students Congress Gauteng provincial task team, said it was worrying to see the country's universities beefing up security instead of finding ways to deal with the problems through dialogue.

“They [universities] are enforcing the law through draconian methods. It is sad to see universities spending money on security and instead of using that money to assist the students,” he said.

Ackotia added that security was necessary but those tasked with the job should be objective and neutral to the situations happening at universities.

“Security is important but they are there to protect the students. They must not be biased towards a certain group or agenda. We would like to see open ended engagements and measures to tackle the current situation,” he said.

AfriForum national co-ordinator, Morne Mostert, said if the EFF was not threatening the safety of students on campus and property, the extra money being used for security could have gone to assist financially needy students.

UP forced to spend money on security

“To ensure safety, universities must beef up security to protect students. It is very understandable for any university to do that. If the EFF was ready to talk about the issues, that money could have been used for students. They are forcing the university to spend that money on security,” he said.

Students at the university have been protesting over the issue of language policy. At least 27 people were arrested last week Friday for public violence and they appeared in court on Monday. Charges against three of them were dropped, leaving only 24 students to stand trial.

The university was once again closed on Monday following spates of student protests and violence. Bouwer said due to the disruptions, academic activities on the Hatfield campus, lectures and tests that were scheduled were temporarily postponed.

“This decision was made to ensure the safety of staff and students. No student will be penalised for any work or tests that have been postponed. The vice chancellor and the executive of the University are deeply concerned that the rolling set of demands by protesters is compromising our ability to maintain good governance and management of the university,” she said.

Bouwer added that management wanted to meet with protest leaders to find a peaceful solution to the situation.   

Read more on:    university of pretoria  |  pretoria  |  education  |  university fees  |  protests  |  university protests

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