Wits SRC President: Call to expel Jewish students from DUT “ridiculous and stupid”

TRIED & TESTED: Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) candidate Mcebo Dlamini convincing students to vote for the "very same leadership that has been with you through thick and thin". Dlamini assured students that no amount of insults will take away the PYA from students. Dlamini was addressing a crowd of students at one of the  lunch circuses held outside the  Wits Great Hall. Photo: Nqobile Dludla

NO SUPPORT: SRC President Mcebo Dlamini says the Wits SRC does not support the DUT’s call to expel Jewish students. Photo: Nqobile Dludla

The Wits Student Representative Council (SRC) has said it refuses to support the Durban University of Technology (DUT) SRC’s call for the deregisteration of Jewish students.

In an interview with Wits Vuvuzela yesterday, Wits SRC president Mcebo Dlamini called the demand “ridiculous and stupid”.

The demand, made by DUT’s SRC and the Progressive Youth Alliance, called for “Jewish students, especially those who do not support the Palestinian struggle,” to deregister from the institution.

Dlamini, on behalf of the Wits SRC, said that all South Africans have the right to study and should be able to study anywhere they want.

“I could never support this initiative or cause. We, as an SRC, are for a South Africa for all who live in it. For all those who support Palestinians and for all those who are Jewish.”

He told Wits Vuvuzela that he was going to recommend to Mqondisi Duma, deputy secretary of the DUT SRC, that they retract their demand, “from one president to another”.

“This is the wrong call, you cannot deal with issues of racism generally,” he said. “It shows some leaders are lazy to think,” Dlamini told Wits Vuvuzela.

The DUT SRC was unavailable for comment at the time of publication but released a statement late Wednesday afternoon clarifying media reports of their demands. The statement says the DUT SRC believes the state of Israel is an “Apartheid, genocidal and terrorist State”. They said their demand was made in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

“… we demand that ANY Jewish, Muslim, Christian, even Atheist or any other that is funded by the Apartheid State of Israel and its institutions must not be students in DUT …,” read the statement. [READ THE FULL STATEMENT HERE]

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DUT’s SRC demand Jewish students be kicked out

The Durban University of Technology's SRC and the Progressive Youth Alliance have demanded that Jewish students be kicked out. Photo: Facebook

The Durban University of Technology’s SRC and the Progressive Youth Alliance have demanded that Jewish students be kicked out. Photo: Facebook

The Durban University of Technology’s (DUT) Student Representative Council (SRC)  and the Progressive Youth Alliance have demanded that Jewish students, especially those who support Israel, should be kicked out, Independent Online reported on Wednesday afternoon.

This also applies to students who are sponsored by the Israeli government. The demand was sent to university management and has shocked and angered Jewish organisations.

The university’s vice-chancellor, Prof Ahmed Bawa, responded by saying the demands are “outrageous, preposterous and a deep violation of our national Constitution and every human rights principle.”

SRC secretary Mqondisi Duma told Independent Online: “As the SRC, we had a meeting and analysed international politics. We took the decision that Jewish students, especially those who do not support the Palestinian struggle, should deregister.”

On Tuesday night, Natan Pollack, national chairman of the South African Union of Jewish Students, called the demand to kick out Jewish students from DUT “deplorable”.

“To discriminate against people because of their religious and political standpoint goes against freedom of speech,” he said.

Chairwoman of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, Durban-based Mary Kluk, said she was “appalled” and said it was unacceptable such demands could be made in an academic institution.