OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
The Anglican Students Federation is joining political parties and other stake holders in higher education for further intervention at Walter Sisulu University in the Eastern Cape, which has closed indefinitely amid labour and student unrest. Students at the institution’s four campuses were given until midday on Wednesday (28th August) to vacate the premises because of the discord that has characterized the life of that university.
The closure follows a five-week-long strike by staff demanding higher wages that has all but ended teaching and learning which also began leading to disruptive student protests.
The ASF wishes to express its unequivocal support to the students of Walter Sisilu University for protesting against the injustices demonstrated to proper education. The actions of the students to protect the core values of education and academic freedom are timely, important, and admirable.
We strongly condemn the victimisation of students who participated in the strike and plead with the university that the tyrannical orders for the closing of all of the campuses should be withdrawn and the university be reopened at once. This support however is not confined to negative acts of passivity, we condemn once more any sort of violence that has characterised the protest march which to our understanding was meant to be a peaceful demonstration. We know and greatly applaud the patience the students, whose futures have been put at risk, have shown but vandalizing the property of the institution is a recipe for another disaster which none of us would want to witness. In its positive form it expresses itself in desperate attempts pray with and for the university in its entirerity to find a common ground to deal with the fundamental issues at hand so that the business of the institution can continue.
We therefore call on the supremacy of the university to seek the views and obtain the express consent of the students necessarily to ensure that the future of students is not been compromised, this is a dynamic demand by the students which should never be ignored.
Article by Rethabile P Matlatsa
(52nd president of the ASF)