Students stone Tshwane university vice-chancellor

The vice-chancellor of the Tshwane University of Technology, Professor Errol Tyobeka, was attacked with stones after he addressed a mass meeting of students on Wednesday afternoon, the Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania (Pasma) said.

Pasma’s president, Mametlwe Sebei, said Tyobeka did not make a concrete commitment on the issues raised at the open-air meeting—mainly demands over fees—and the students became agitated.

Some stones were thrown, but Tyobeka was not seriously injured, said Sebei.

Police were called in but no charges were laid, said Inspector Paul Ramaloko of the Pretoria police.

He said “thousands” of students were involved.

He confirmed that Tyobeka was not injured, and said police and the Student Representative Council (SRC) helped the vice-chancellor to leave.

“Our members will monitor the situation until we are convinced everything is back to normal,” said Ramaloko.

Earlier, students were given until 2pm on Wednesday to stop their illegal protest or face legal action, the university said in a statement.

Spokesperson Willa De Ruyter said this followed two days of violent protests at the campus and the disruption of academic activities.

“Students barricaded the gates of the campus with burning tyres and refused staff and students entry into the campus,” she said.

On Monday the Soshanguve SRC handed in a memorandum to the university’s management. The students demanded that the financial exclusion of students be stopped, the residences at the Soshanguve campus be repaired, and a proposed 9% fee increase be scrapped.

Pasma’s Gauteng chairperson Vusi Mahlangu said Pasma was “prepared to fight with their last drop of blood” until all their demands were met.

De Ruyter said a written response from management was distributed to all the students at the campus on Wednesday. Students who felt that they met the academic criteria for re-admission were invited to submit information to the SRC before Friday.

The procedure regarding financial exclusion was explained.
The upgrading of the campus had already started, and students had to understand it was a lengthy process.

The proposed fee increase for 2007 was essential, she said.

In the message to students, Tyobeka condemned the violent protest and disruption of academic activities. He said negotiations should take place in good faith and that all students should be aware of the procedures to follow in resolving issues.

“We want to create a climate that will enable students to achieve their academic goals and dreams,” Tyobeka said. - Sapa

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