Former Constitutional Court Justice Yvonne Mokgoro was the independent facilitator of the lekgotla. Tumelo “Duke” Rasebopye, UPrising’s interim spokesperson, confirmed that the independent facilitator was chosen by both management and the students, saying, “It helps us ensure that there is impartiality in the whole process.” Initially students refused to engage because of the presence of police at Faircity Roodevallei Hotel, which was the venue of the event. However, the discussion resumed after Justice Mokgoro spoke to the police and asked them to leave.
The discussion focused on the suspension of certain students, the outcomes of issues raised in the various memorandums received by UP, and timeframes for agreements. The different stakeholders were given time to discuss and decide on the three priorities that would be addressed at the sitting. Following this, Prof. de la Rey said that students who had been suspended would be allowed to return to campus with immediate effect, pending the outcomes of their disciplinary hearings.
Student bodies decided that there were three main issues that required immediate attention and engagement. They were:
• the languages used as a medium of instruction, communication and signage, and class composition and employment issues;
• the UP culture and the transformation thereof in Stuku and residences, and name changes;
• and curriculum reform relating to prescribed work, the demographic transformation of academic staff, and use of indigenous languages.
To conclude the day’s proceedings, a peace accord was signed by all stakeholders present to ensure that classes are not disrupted in future and that engagement on these issues could continue in a constructive manner.
UP spokesperson Anna-Retha Bouwer said that there will be other meetings following this lekgotla.
According to News24, the UP Worker’s Organisation (UPWO) and trade movement Solidarity threatened to withdraw their members from the university if UP lifted the suspensions of four EFFSC-UP members. However, News24 also reported that “at least 50 lecturers have distanced themselves from [these] statements and threats.” These lecturers supported the institution’s decision to lift the suspensions of students.