Forum to discuss problems in higher education erupts in violence
A forum called on Saturday morning to discuss problems faced by students in higher education erupted in chaos as students traded blows and hurled chairs and other objects at one another.
It was uncertain a short while ago whether the forum would continue after having been adjourned so that some order could be restored after violence erupted between different student factions.
The Afriforum students’ organisation said it was considering leaving the forum after death threats.
Other student organisations intimated that they were unable and unwilling to talk to the Afriforum student leaders.
Organisers of the Higher Education National Convention in Midrand north of Johannesburg had their hands full from the outset trying to keep control of proceedings because of constant disruptions.
The forum got off to a rowdy start with students heckling the opening speaker‚ judge and former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke.
Although he was able to complete his address‚ he was forced to stop speaking several times owing to disruptions‚ Some students indicated that they did not want Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande to address them.
They also stated that they did not want just another “talk shop”‚ charging that that was all that had been done for the past three years.
“We don’t just want more talk – we want answers from government to our demands‚” one angry student shouted. Students are also demanding that charges be withdrawn against leaders arrested during the #FeesMustFall campaign.
They also complained that they were not “properly engaged” on the agenda of the convention.