21 September 2016

South Africa: Academic Activities At Sefako Makgatho University Health Sciences University Suspended

Photo: allafrica.com
Protests at the University of Pretoria, top, where SRC elections were suspended, and clashes between students and security guards at the University of Witwatersrand, bottom.

Students from the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (previously MEDUNSA) in Pretoria have shut down their campus in protest against fee increases and their dissatisfaction with a and one particular lecturer.

Ashley Tsundu, a BSc Physiotherapy student at the university told The Daily Vox that the students have decided to occupy the Vice Chancellor's office.

He says the students have three main demands which have been collated in a memorandum.

"There's an off-campus residence that students are not happy with. They are saying it is not habitable. The management wants to extend the contract yet our students want to move out of that residence. Number two is an issue about a particular lecturer in the pathology department that is busy failing students. And the issue of fees also: after the announcement of the Minister of Higher Education and Training," he said.

Students protested in 2014 demanding that certain lecturers be suspended for the same reasons.

Classes were also cancelled on Tuesday by order of the interim vice chancellor, Chris de Beer in line with requests by the SRC body in order to facilitate the student consultative meetings.

Important Notice: Suspension of Academic Activities (20 September 2016). pic.twitter.com/pOUNRhb5IJ

-- Sefako Makgatho Univ (@SMU_SA) September 20, 2016

A member of the SRC at the university has said that academic activities continue to be suspended as per the agreement from the student body meeting.

ATTENTION!!! SMU #SmuStudentBody#SmuStrike2016#SmuTwitterFam pic.twitter.com/6ogkaj9cVL

-- AJ #OwlNation #SmuTF (@Amu_J) September 20, 2016

University management has said they have not yet received the memorandum from the Transitional SRC and will meet with representatives and discuss the memo once it has been received. They have also said a decision on the fee increases for the 2017 academic year will only be taken much later and only after consultation with student representatives.

DT Moloko, Convenor of the SRC has said that students are protesting on Wednesday about the fees announcement as well as internal issues such as the residence and problems with exams. They are going to be handing in the memorandum later on Tuesday. They are in support of the #FeesMustFall movement but Moloko says: "Our stance as the Sefako Makgatho student body is that we want an increment of fees of the current one. We do not want 0%. And if they fail to do so, we are going to continue with the protest."

It's only the beginning 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥#SMUStudentBody pic.twitter.com/pS7ZeCXZOT

-- #MyEx(Freestyle) (@McSeel_Official) September 21, 2016

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