Cape Town – Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training on Tuesday echoed statements made by Stellenbosch University that agricultural school Elsenburg was not within the tertiary institution’s jurisdiction.
“I don’t know how we are going to get this across to the students but they must know that Elsenburg is not within your jurisdiction and if you address the racism there then you are interfering,” said committee chair Yvonne Phosa.
The management of Stellenbosch University along with various stakeholders including the SRC and the university’s council met with the committee on Tuesday to respond to racism at the institution as alleged by 34 students and one staff member in the documentary, “Luister”.
The matter of racism at Elsenburg Agricultural College was brought up in Lusiter by interviewees and, according to Stellenbosch University’s Rector Wim de Villiers, the perception was created that the university was in control of the agricultural school.
It was, however, confirmed by both the university and the committee that Elsenberg was a Western Cape government institution and thus the university could not intervene.
“However, we will fight racism wherever it is,” said De Villiers.
Meanwhile, students at Elsenburg Agricultural College were on Tuesday attacked by what appeared to be a group of student protestors, some dressed in Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) regalia.
Protests against the college’s language policy began on Monday but turned violent on Tuesday morning.
Allegations that the attackers were members of the EFF were circulating on social media on Tuesday with the Democratic Alliance’s national spokesperson Phumzile Van Damme – who was present at the committee sitting – saying the violence and disruption was what the EFF was about.
A screenshot had also been posted on Twitter by Eikestadnuus which allegedly showed a member of Open Stellenbosch waving a sjambok at an Elsenburg student. The Open Stellenbosch member was the opening interviewee in Luister.
Ijeoma Opara, speaking on behalf of Open Stellenbosch, confirmed that the male student was indeed a member of the movement.
“We stand in solidarity with the students of Elsenburg and their experiences,” said Opara.
She could not, however, provide further comment at the time of writing as she did not know the full story of what had occurred at Elsenburg.
Source: IOL – Politics
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