What do the students want?

Students taking part in the #FeesMustFall protest have outlined internal lists of demands by students.


Student leaders at the universities have called for campuses shutdown in response to the announcement made by the higher education minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, earlier last week that there will be a tuition fee increase in 2017.

REVOLUTION: Wits students protest march towards the Chamber of Mines to hand over a memorandum of demands. Photo: Nokuthula Zwane

REVOLUTION: Wits students protest march towards the Chamber of Mines to hand over a memorandum of demands.                                                                                                                           Photo: Nokuthula Zwane

However the proposed 8% fee increase was not well accepted by the students who have demanded free education.
Wits University, University of Cape Town (UCT), University of Pretoria, University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, University of Limpopo, University of Johannesburg and Tshwane University of Technology are among the higher education institutions that are experiencing protest action.
Students taking part in the #FeesMustFall protest have outlined internal lists of demands by students.
The common thing that the students are proposing is no financial exclusion of any student at the education institutions, free quality, and decolonising education to students. The students further suggest that the universities must commit to clearance of all the historical debt of the students including the release of all degrees withheld due to fees outstanding.
Safety is still a concern to students. All students across the universities demand the removal of all private security on campuses. They demand that the police must be unarmed on campuses and no legal action should be taken against students who were suspended while participating in the current protest.
Transformation seems to be one of the key issues among other demands. The UCT students suggest that the university needs to look into a class discrimination policy, in conjunction with students, so as to ensure that only those who do not have the financial status to be in private accommodation are accommodated in the residence system.
The workers and students have expressed solidarity and they demand that there should be protection against victimisation for workers participating in protests and they must not be subject to any disciplinary action for partaking in the protest.
The UCT students are demanding that there should be a transparent and consistent insourcing process that includes students as active participants in the process.
Students proposed that accommodation fees should not be paid upfront at residences and students should be allowed to move in upon registration. Wits students have also demanded that residence fees must not increase.
“We will not stop until the ANC delivers on the promises it made 21 years ago,” said Kefentse Mkhari, incoming Wits SRC president.




#FMF: Universities ungovernable


MASS MARCH: The #FreeMustFall students march on Jorrisen Street in Braamfontein. Photo: Nokuthula Zwane

Week two of the #FeesMustFall student protests comes with students drafting memoranda, burning property and marching around campuses following the shutdown of most universities. (more…)

University of Limpopo shut down indefinitely

Management of the University of Limpopo (UL) in Limpopo Polokwane, has suspended all academic activities as a result of the violent student protests that have escalated this week, following the FeesMustFall movement taking place countrywide.

SHUTDOWN: University of Limpopo has announced a "immediate shutdown" of all academic activities. Photo: Provided

SHUTDOWN: The University of Limpopo has been closed indefinitely after students clashed with police. Photo: Provided


Power reporting pilgrimage

WHEN most people were sleeping in their warm comfortable beds at 2.30am on Monday morning, 23 students from the University of Limpopo (UL) were getting on a bus headed to Johannesburg. It was cold and rainy but that did not dampen their mood.

They were headed to the Power Reporting conference to be “baptised in journalism,” as their lecturer Thabiso Muswede put it. Muswede said the UL media department brought their entire Honours class, two Masters students and eight staff members to the conference.

“We want them to engage with media people from all over the world,” said Muswede.  This was the third time UL attended the conference but for the first two years they could only bring two or three students. Muswede said the change in attitude and behaviour in those students had been notable: “They’ve developed confidence and they are inspired.”

[pullquote]They were headed to the Power Reporting conference to be “baptised in journalism”[/pullquote]Muswede said he hoped that “rubbing shoulders” with respected international and local journalists would help students to “marry theory with practice”, make them more employable and build their confidence. “So when they graduate they are not scared to plunge themselves in any pool and engage in international debates,” he said.

The Limpopo team only received two bursaries from Power Reporting, with everyone else being sponsored by the university “because they value our progress”, said Muswede. UL honours student Khotso Mabokela said she was “overwhelmed” with excitement. Mabokela said she wanted to come last year but she was unable to. Getting the opportunity to attend Power Reporting this year was a big deal.

While Mabokela was tired from the trip and from exams at UL, she was still excited about the conference, especially with investigative journalist Mzilakazi wa Afrika.  “I want to know how he won his cases and how he investigates,” she said.
Mabokela wants to follow in wa Afrika’s footsteps and become an investigative journalist.  Muswede said Wits was “leading in teaching journalism in Africa” and wanted to expose their UL students to the programme.

Varsity round-up

University of Pretoria

A Tuks medical student has been granted a court interdict against a fellow student, for sexual harassment.
The respondent reportedly said to the applicant, “I am going to sit behind you and follow you on campus and in your car… I love you, I am going to stalk you for the next three years… Man bitch! Fag! Weirdo! I’m going to bliksem you!”
The order prevents the respondent from making any contact with the applicant, physically, telephonically or electronically.

The 22-year-old student claims the respondent is hounding him with text messages and on Facebook despite having explicitly assured the respondent that he is not homosexual. The student attempted to block the respondent on the site but the respondent created false profiles to contact him, declaring his love for the medical student.
In the messages, the respondent reportedly begged to see the applicant naked, and “to kiss him and if he [the applicant] felt nothing, promised to leave him alone”.
In his statement, the applicant said, “The respondent is making it impossible for me to normally attend class. He is invading my personal space. He makes me feel unsafe and I desperately need the protection of the court.”
The respondent’s mother wrote a letter supporting the application for the court  order against her son. She expressed her “absolute regret” for the “fiasco” that her her son was responsible for.


University of Limpopo

A University of Limpopo student has been arrested for allegedly dumping her newborn baby in a toilet.
The dead infant was discovered in a pit toilet in the garden by the owner of the off-campus residence where the girl lived. It is unclear whether the baby was alive when the incident occurred.
The third year BA Administration student has been barred from her residence, but the university has said that they will support their student.
“While we regret the incident, we will give our student emotional support,” said Kgalema Mohuba, the university’s spokesperson.
The body was taken to government mortuary, where a post-mortem will be conducted to determine cause of death.


University of Zululand

Lectures at the University of Zululand were disrupted this week, following violence fuelled by a dispute between student political groups.
The dispute began last weekend at a student representative council (SRC) meeting held to brief students on the activities of the National Students Movement (Nasmo)-led council during its term of office. The conflict was reportedly between Nasmo, the South African Student Congress (Sasco) and the Young Communist League.
On March 25, six students were injured and a staff member was assaulted.
The violence continued into the evening of March 26, when another six students were injured when the  rioters  began throwing stones.
KZN police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said no investigation was under way. “Police will investigate when people come forward to open cases,” he said.
The provincial levels of the various student groups involved have condemned the violence.


University of the Free State

Approximately 10% of UFS students go without regular meals according to the NoStudentHungry campaign (NSH)  .
The campaign aims to raise money for a food bursary, which will be used to help students have healthy daily meals.
“These students do not ask [for] red meat; just something to be able to study,” Rector Jonathan Jansen said at the event.
Jansen has donated the royalties from his book, We need to talk, to the campaign, amounting to R100 000.
University spokesperson Lacea Loader said students who were awarded the NSH bursary were selected on the basis of financial need, academic performance, involvement in student programmes, and community engagement.


Related articles:

Vuvuzela: Varsity round-up March 15