Universities South Africa (USaf) says there will be no blanket decisions on amnesties for #FeesMustFall expulsions.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the body — whose board is made up of all vice-chancellors of South Africa’s 26 public universities — was responding to a call by a number of organisations and individuals for blanket amnesty to be granted to all students who were either suspended or expelled by universities or criminally charged during the #FeesMustFall protests.
Usaf said universities have no jurisdiction over cases where students were charged by the state and were found guilty of criminal activities by a court of law. In these cases, the matter of amnesty has to be taken up with the Presidency.
On Monday, the Mail & Guardian reported that a student committee will be established to work with Justice Minister Michael Masutha to create a plan to grant amnesty to protesters who face criminal charges. Masutha and student activist Bonginkosi Khanyile held a joint press briefing in Pretoria after the two met on Friday outside Union Buildings.
Universities SA says that where students have sentences which amount to suspensions or expulsions and wish to apply for amnesty/clemency, these will be addressed at their individual institutions, each of which has internal policies and procedures toadjudicate appeals for amnesty/clemency.
Members of the USAf Board were of the opinion that during the student activism of 2015 and 2016, students had committed varying offences in circumstances changing significantly among universities.
As a result, institutions had also dealt with offenders in ways informed by their contextsand differing circumstances and would have to be consistent with their approaches,practices, policies and procedures.
Read the USaf statement below: