South Africa university protesters lament unmet demands

Talks between students demanding 'free and decolonized' education and Witwatersrand University management collapses 

South Africa university protesters lament unmet demands

World Bulletin / News Desk

Talks between protesting students demanding “free and decolonized” education at Johannesburg’s prestigious Witwatersrand University and the institution’s management collapsed Friday.

Students and academics at the university expressed outrage after the management cancelled a public meeting meant to address their funding crisis.

In response to the announcement, hundreds of students gathered at a tent where they were addressed by student leaders, academics and the clergy.

“We all want to go back to class, but can only go back after our demands are met,” Mcebo Dlamini, former president of the student’s representative council, said in his address.

Student leaders accused the university management of not negotiating with their representatives in good faith. “It’s clear from last year that management doesn’t want to negotiate,” the council’s Secretary-General Fasiha Hassan said at the gathering.

She said they would not give up with their protest until their demands of having a “free, quality and decolonized education system” was met.

She pointed out that some students had been permanently scarred after being shot at during the protests.

Earlier, academics also marched on the campus to express their disappointment with the management for canceling the general assembly.

Student protests began two weeks back following an announcement that there would be an 8 percent tuition hike in the 2017 academic year. Since then, scenes of police clashing with students have become common at several universities across the country.

On Tuesday, Witwatersrand University started negations with former leaders of the Black Student Society and Student Representative Council, backed by the clergy, with hopes of ending protests.

The university also suspended academic activities for a week, until Oct. 10. Last year, South Africa witnessed similar protests, which then forced the government to avoid a tuition hike for 2016.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 07 Ekim 2016, 17:58