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DASO condemns violence at University of Fort Hare, damage totals over R2 million

Sep 29, 2017
DASO condemns violence at University of Fort Hare, damage totals over R2 million

The Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (DASO) in the Eastern Cape on Friday condemned the violent protests that broke out at the University of Fort Hare's Alice campus on Tuesday and resulted in the looting of property as well as damage to cars and infrastructure.

The students' grievances included a wi-fi problem, a water crisis in some residences, fee waivers for academic excellence, allowances for non-resident students among others.

Public order police had to be called in to restore calm.

DASO said that it believes the violence was instigated by a rival student organisation, the South African Students Congress (SASCO).

"On Tuesday, the SASCO-led Student Representative Council (SRC) on this campus held a meeting, supposedly to discuss students’ concerns and to find lasting solutions," said Thandikaya Matokazi - DASO UFH Alice Chairperson.

"However, after the meeting and with SASCO’s encouragement (both at the meeting and on social media) students started to participate in violent protest action.

"Instead of communicating their grievances to the university authorities, students opted for violent protest which has so far led to damages of almost R2 million."

DASO condemned the violence and called for calm and that the people responsible for the violence and looting to be brought to book.

"While we promote the right to peaceful demonstration, we cannot sit back and watch as property is vandalised and the academic programme at the university brought to a standstill," said Matokazi.

"We believe that the only way forward is through constructive discussion and we call on the SRC to raise the students’ grievances with the university in a calm and peaceful manner.

"DASO believes that all students should be free to learn and study in a safe environment."

The situation was reportedly calm on Friday and classes are expected to resume on Monday.