Parties slam scuffles at UP
Racial tensions have beset the institution after the majority black scholars demanded that Afrikaans be scrapped as a medium of communication at the university.
Last week, physical confrontations led to the arrest of 27 students, mostly black. Five students have been suspended.
The suspended scholars were charged with protesting unlawfully, instigating public violence, bringing the name of the university into
disrepute and contravening a court interdict.
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) and the biggest opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), have denounced the turn of events.
ANC spokesperson, for Tshwane, Tebogo Joala, says his organisation is disturbed by the prevailing tensions, hence ANC’s march against racism city a fortnight ago.
”We marched in the city of Tshwane to protest such kinds of attitudes in our society. It is surprising that our society still have elements of racial discrimination after over decades of independence. As a party we value equality in our society and nation building,” says Joala.
He is hopeful of a lasting solution to curb such behavior at the University of Pretoria and other institutions.
Solly Msimanga, the DA Mayoral candidate for Pretoria, says the actions by the students were damaging.
”I have been shaken and saddened by scenes of groups of students dividing themselves along racial lines and engaging in violence. Nothing is more damaging to our critical project of reconciliation and nation-building, than racial division and racial conflict. I condemn those who resort to violence, rather than reconciliation,” says Msimanga.
”Issues of funding, language and inclusivity on our campuses rightfully must be addressed, after enormous failures by national government to improve the circumstances of poor and excluded students, but violence is never the way,” adds Msimanga.
He welcomes the decision of the university’s Senate to make English a language of instruction throughout, arguing English is the most inclusive and accessible option.
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)-aligned student leader, Amla Monageng, feels the university was shortchanging the party and black students.
”They are victimising students from the EFF because we have been vocal against Afrikaans. We maintain Afrikaans must not be the official language at the campus and they should stop victimising students from the EEF,” he says.
Sociopolitical analyst, Dr Everisto Benyera, who is also a University of South Africa (UNISA) lecturer, says social injustices must be addressed to curb racial problems.
”In 1994, South Africa plastered the huge structural fractures in society through the myth of the rainbow nation. This (racial division) was bound to happen,” says Benyera.
He says historically disadvantaged people were ever bound to revolt.
”The effects of apartheid were wide and deep so there must be a social revolution, one which alters the structures of power relationships in tertiary education. The curriculum needs to de-colonised and de-Afrikaanized, observes Benyera.
– CAJ News
Short URL: http://cajnewsafrica.com/?p=11789