The EFFSC-UP walked out of the meeting after Dr Nzimande refused to engage with them and tweeted the following from their account.
The EFF returned later to engage with university management. Time would have been set aside on Monday 29 February to engage with the leaders of student structures, as requested by student leaders according to a statement released by UP. At the time of going to print, no meeting between management and students had taken place.
A separate press conference was also held on Sunday in which the ANC and Solidariteit announced their agreement on a number of matters relating to the recent unrest on university campuses across South Africa. The parties involved in this alliance include the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA), ANC (GP), SACP (GP), Cosatu (GP), Sanco (GP), ANCYL (GP), Young Communist League (GP) and Sasco (GP), along with the Solidariteit group, consisting of Afriforum, Afriforum Youth and Solidariteit. According to a media release, the parties engaged with each other in a “constructive, bilateral meeting” on Wednesday 24 February to discuss three critical areas: to condemn the intimidation, disruption, violence and attempts to polarise students on the basis of race; to discuss the transformation of the university’s language policy; and to ensure the re-opening of the university on Monday 29 February.
This alliance received strong criticism on social media under the #ANCAfriforum hashtag. Interim spokesperson for Uprising, Tumelo “Duke” Rasebopye, says that a meeting and agreement of this nature was frustrating because the student organisations on the ground were not made aware of it. He added that the feeling is that entering into such a discussion is “selling out” on students as no student voice was present, and that it brings about a decision on student matters without students being consulted on what the way forward should be.
According to UP spokesperson Anna-Retha Bouwer, the review of the UP language policy will begin anew due the conflict brought about through the previous process. The process will be handled by a multi-party committee facilitated by an independent party. Rapport reported that the previous suggestion of the language review committee (that English be used as the only tuition language) was not the finding of the committee, but rather that a multi-lingual approach should be followed.
Stringent security measures remain in place around campus, with access only granted to students and staff with valid access cards.
Image: Shen Scott