UPDATE | UKZN students walk out on SRC president's address

2016-11-11 08:00
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News editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the fact that while the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) instituted a disciplinary process against Siphelele Nguse during this term as president of the Student Representative Council, UKZN has also confirmed that there was never any investigation into claims of financial mismanagement or the theft of funds by Nguse, as claimed by his fellow students. It further confirmed there is no record of him being prosecuted or found guilty of allegations of this nature.

Durban – Students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Pietermaritzburg campus staged a walkout when their student representative council (SRC) president Siphelele Nguse took to the podium to address them.

Nguse went up to the podium after activist Leigh-Ann Naidoo delivered a lecture titled Decolonising the Curriculum & Centering the Black Intellectual.

When Nguse stood up to address the students a group of them started singing and walked out of the Colin Webb Hall.

In June, News24 reported that Nguse had allegedly been suspended for fraud and corruption, allegations which he, at the time, denied.

It was alleged that he had stolen money meant for a student event.

Fees Must Fall student activist Chuma Wakeni said: "We cannot allow ourselves to be addressed by a corrupt SRC who has done nothing legitimate for the students. In the beginning of the year when we were told that students were going to be financially excluded the SRC, led by Nguse, did nothing."

SRC 'silent on issues'

Wakeni said he did not recognise Nguse as the SRC president.

Another student, Tabane Kupeng, said he would not be addressed by someone who had stolen money from students.

"I refuse to be addressed by him."

Maqhawe Mawela said students were not happy with the current SRC leadership.

"The SRC has been there for a very long time but they have been silent on issues. They are working together with management to oppress students, even when the environment was not conducive enough for students to proceed with the academic programme, they emphasised that we go to university when there were bombs [at] the library."

Mawela said students had been arrested and the SRC had not supported their plight.

Political differences

"It was alleged that he was working with the police to suppress the student movement. We cannot sit and listen to someone who wants votes from us but is not in the forefront of the students' struggle."

Nguse, in response, said it was a matter of political differences.

"We are now going into the SRC elections and people will use any platform for their political gains. This just shows the political intolerance."

Addressing the students earlier, Naidoo said she had been disappointed in the manner in which Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande had dealt with the demands of the Fees Must Fall movement.

"That he can stand there and say that he does not believe in decolonised education for all and that the rich should pay, is the most anti-socialist thing I have ever heard," she said.

Read more on:    ukzn  |  durban  |  university protests  |  university fees
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