by Valerie Robinson & Queenin Masuabi
The Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) is planning to fight back against university management to get dismissed SRC President Mcebo Dlamini reinstated.
The PYA plans to form an adhoc committee to investigate Dlamini’s expulsion according to one of its leaders, Wits South African Student’s Congress Secretary (Sasco) Phindile Maphanga. The committee is going to focus on the legalities concerning Dlamini’s dismissal. In particular they are going to examine the accusation of misconduct because they believe that the charge is too broad and undermines student leadership.
Maphanga said that Sasco has not yet mobilised students as the organisation is still deciding on what to do. On Wednseday evening, the PYA held a meeting that lasted more than six hours to discuss the way forward.
Maphanga said that there will be consequences if Dlamini is not reinstated. “We will not take it lightly.”
Dlamini was dismissed from his position as SRC president on Monday for charges of misconduct. Vice Chancellor Adam Habib has denied the dismissal is related to Dlamini’s recent comments praising the leader of Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler.
Secretary of the Wits Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Mbe Mbhele told Wits Vuvuzela that his organisation would also protest the decision to remove Dlamini but he is not at liberty at this stage to state exactly what action will be taken. However, he did say forms of protest such as marches will not be used. Rather “more creative methods of protest” will be utilised to make their point.
Mbhele said the Wits EFF “is not in the business of defending an individual. The EFF wants to take a stand against the university being able to suppress voices of the black community.” “The university is anti-black,” he said.
Dlamini has been advised by the PYA to avoid public engagements, including media interviews. The PYA will be speaking on his behalf in the meantime, according to Maphanga.
In February 2015, Dlamini was found guilty of misconduct by a disciplinary panel and given a sentence of one year suspended exclusion in respect of each charge against him. According to Habib, he was given a period in which to appeal but did not do so. After handing in a motivation letter requesting an extension from Habib which was granted.
However, Habib said Dlamini did not hand in the relevant documents to the legal office in the allocated time. In a statement, Habib says that this was a “delaying tactic” that Dlamini intended to use to stay in his position as SRC president until the end of his tenure. Habib then announced he was withdrawing his decision to allow Dlamini to stay in office.
Dlamini courted controversy last week when he posted the statement “I love Adolf Hitler” in a comment thread below a graphic comparing modern Israel to Nazi Germany.
When contacted about his comments by Wits Vuvuzela, Dlamini restated his admiration of the fascist leader of Nazi Germany. “What I love about Hitler is his charisma and his capabilities to organise people. We need more leaders of such calibre. I love Adolf Hitler,” Dlamini said.
In the same comment thread, Dlamini wrote that every white person has “an element of Adolf Hitler”.
Dlamini later defended and reinstated his comments on Hitler in several media interviews including eNCA, 702 and ANN7.
Habib criticised Dlamini’s comments regarding Hitler, saying he had “single-handedly” damaged the reputation of Wits.
“I believe that Mr Dlamini has single-handedly wrought more damage on its reputation than any other person who I can think of in at least the last two decades. This damage has the potential to impact on the credibility of our degrees, and therefore on the employment prospects of all of our students and graduates.”