5 February 2013

South Africa: ANCYL-Run Wits SRC Undermines Democracy By Barring DA From Addressing Students

press release

In another case of anti-democratic bullying by ANC activists, I was barred from addressing students at Wits university today.

The ANCYL-dominated Student Representative Council (SRC) barred me, and representatives from the Democratic Alliance Students' Organisation (DASO), from addressing students on a public platform. This occurred only minutes after the Progressive Youth Alliance (an ANCYL/YCL alliance) was given a 30 minute speaking slot on the very same platform.

Every political party active at Wits was given extensive time to address students. Yet the DA was not given any time. In correspondence with the SRC's Clubs and Societies Officer, Apelele Pindani, a Progressive Youth Alliance representative, DASO confirmed a 15 minute speaking slot for this morning.

Yet this morning it was claimed that the DA did not book a speaking slot. This is simply not true, since Mr Pindani confirmed DASO's speaking slot last week Friday already.

This is yet another example of how the ANC is attempting to close down the democratic space at our universities. There is a growing intolerance in the ANC of differing views.

I will today write to the Dean of Students at Wits, Ms Prem Coopoo, to bring this unfortunate incident to her attention. Action must be taken against the SRC members who are engaging in anti-democratic practices.

I look forward to returning to Wits to talk about the DA's vision for the future. Young people have the right to hear from all political perspectives. This is the key to ensuring that the next generation of South Africans is active, engaged and informed.

Mmusi Maimane, DA National Spokesperson

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