Ft Hare students want written guarantee to call off class boycott

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By Sino Majangaza

Protesting University of Fort Hare students have agreed to return to class on the condition vice-chancellor Professor Sakhela Buhlungu commits in writing that their demands would be met.

Thousands of students at the university’s Alice campus held a mass meeting yesterday to discuss a way forward regarding the protest.

They have been boycotting classes for two weeks demanding Buhlungu personally receive their memorandum of grievances.

UFH VC Professor Sakhela Buhlungu Picture: SISIPHO ZAMXAKA

The meeting came a day after the SRC attended a special meeting with the university management in an attempt to end the impasse.

SRC president Mosuli Cwele said they had had a fruitful meeting with management and they were hoping for a positive response.

“We agreed on a number of issues and they agreed that they will resolve all the grievances we have raised as students,” he said.

However, Cwele said they wanted Buhlungu to commit in writing and give a timeframe.

“All students are ready to go back to class. As soon as we get the written commitment things will go back to normal,” he said.

Cwele said students were worried about losing more time as they were suppose to be preparing for exams.

During their ongoing protest, students caused damage estimated at more than R4-million in rampages vandalising university property.

A bookshop located on campus was broken into and had all its stock such as laptops, stationery and electronic gadgets looted. Last week a staff centre was torched.

One student was arrested on charges of arson.

Cwele said they were anticipating a peaceful day today while waiting on the management’s response.

“No demonstrations or any gathering are expected and students themselves committed to behave,” he said.

However, he said no academic activities would take place while they are waiting.

University spokesman Khotso Moabi said management had not yet received the information that the students want the commitment in writing, but added: “However, we are prepared to make that commitment in writing.”

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