Stop the damage to resume enagement
The Rector and the Executive understand that, following the handing over of the protesting group’s Memorandum to the Chancellor, Archbishop Makgoba, yesterday evening, there are now renewed calls that the Rector must respond to the demands listed in the Memorandum, today.
There was a process of engagement, which entailed that:
1.The Rector addressed students at the mass meeting on Friday, 23 October 2015 in the Student Centre;
2.The Executive facilitated the engagement with the SRC on Wednesday, 28 October 2015, at which time two of the representatives of the protesting group handed over the Memorandum;
3.The demands in the Memorandum overlap significantly with what the SRC and management were already in negotiation about. There was an undertaking by the SRC that the demands in the Memorandum would be integrated into the negotiations that were already underway with the SRC. There was a commitment by the SRC that, once concluded, a meeting of students would be convened to report on the negotiations with the management; and
4.On Thursday, 29 October 2015, the group of protesting students was informed by some staff members that a process of engagement, facilitated by an eminent person, would be arranged, which subsequently started on the morning of Friday, 30 October 2015.
While we were in the process of continuing this engagement on Friday morning and the Chancellor had started his phased engagement process, this was significantly derailed by the indefensible acts of violence and intimidation. This does not constitute a conducive environment to find a resolution and a way forward. The Executive cannot accept that, at a university, the message is that, if you are violent and destroy property, force and intimidate others to participate in the protest, as well as attempt to hold people hostage in buildings, your voices will be heard.
We can only reactivate this process of engagement once the protesting group stands down, respects the dignity and constitutional rights of others and allows us to create an environment conducive to constructive engagement.
Rector and Executive Management