According to Michelle Krüger, SRC portfolio member for societies, the SRC took a collective decision in suspending the EFFSC-UP because they had breached the Constitution for Student Governance (CSG). Krüger explained that this was not the first time EFFSC-UP had breached the CSG, citing previous disruptions of the Student Forum by EFFSC-UP. “Interrupting the Student Forum is just one example [of breaching the CSG] and prohibiting the SRC from executing their duties… is a direct breach of the CSG”, said Krüger. Krüger added that “there has been unrest and uproar as the EFFSC-UP assaulted a Perdeby journalist prior to the Student Forum, where they once again wreaked havoc against a journalist and an Afriforum member.” Krüger concluded by saying that “we [the SRC] cannot accept this kind of behaviour as students don’t feel safe in such an environment”.

The suspension of the EFFSC-UP was, however, lifted following a meeting between the DSA, SRC and EFFSC-UP. Amogelang Kgaladi, EFFSC-UP secretary, confirmed to Perdeby that the suspension had been lifted. In the meeting, Dr Matete Madiba, director of Student Affairs, and Dr Willem Jorissen, deputy-director of Student Affairs, said that they do not recognise the suspension and that the decision had not gone through them.

Kgaladi explained that on Friday 28 August, the EFFSC-UP was notified by the SRC of their suspension and that the EFFSC-UP had to vacate and hand in their office keys to the DSA by 12:00 on Monday 31 August. The EFFSC-UP was given 14 days to appeal the suspension. According to Kgaladi, an agreement was concluded in which the suspension would be withdrawn and an apology would be given to the EFFSC-UP. Kgaladi added, however, that toward the end of the meeting SRC president Mosibudi “Rassie” Rasethaba informed the EFFSC-UP that the SRC would not be withdrawing the suspension, nor would they be issuing an apology. A meeting scheduled on Monday 31 August between the SRC and EFFSC-UP was cancelled, and the EFFSC-UP then sent representatives to the Constitutional Tribunal and to Dr Madiba.

Kgaladi further stressed that although the EFFSC-UP did not appreciate the suspension, they did comply with it so as not to further complicate the situation. “I wish to reiterate that, as the EFFSC-UP, we will always ensure that we uphold the rules of the institution, as also displayed in our compliance with a suspension we did not deem legitimate,” said Kgaladi. Kgaladi also questioned why steps had been taken against the EFFSC-UP for disruptions during the Student Forum, but not against ABASA, who he explained were also involved in the disruptions. Kgaladi added that the EFFSC-UP viewed the suspension as unfair because “you can never suspend an organisation which is representing the voice of students based solely on allegations … in which no thorough investigation was conducted.” On Monday 31 August the EFFSC-UP had vacated their offices, but subsequently returned that afternoon.

Rasethaba also confirmed that the suspension had been lifted for the moment, but added that the SRC still stands by its initial decision.Dr Jorissen confirmed that after a meeting with Prof. Themba Mosia, vice-principal of Student Affairs and Residence Affairs, that EFFSC-UP’s suspension had been deferred. In a memorandum to the EFFSC-UP dated 31 August, it was stated that in light of the SRC elections, that the suspension of the EFFSC-UP had been deferred until an “objective investigation is concluded”. Prof. Mosia was unavailable for comment at the time of going to print.

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