MARKO SVICEVIC UP’s Department of Facilities Management, in collaboration with UP’s Department of Residence Affairs and Accommoda...Read more
HENRI UYS AND POOJA PUNDIT
On 2 March, the TSC and UP management met to discuss accommodation issues.
Sisana Machi, Director of Residence Affairs and Accommodation, announced resident placement problems. Machi said that almost all of UP’s residences are full, excluding the most costly residence, Hatfield Studios. She reported that these residences consist of between 62% and 68% black students. Citing reasons such as location and catering for specific programmes, Machi stated that of the residences, two consist of mainly black students. Machi concluded that the University’s residence placement policy is under review and that the updated policy will be implemented from 2018. Acting Vice-Principal, Prof. Carolina Koornhof, said that the new policy will prioritise students funded by NSFAS, first year students coming from quintile 1, 2 and 3 schools, and students relying on SASSA grants.
The TSC has appealed to student pedestrians and cyclists on Hatfield campus to be cautious when crossing roads. According to Roahan Gouws, the TSC member with the portfolio of safety and security, Hatfield campus experiences a large number of student pedestrians and cyclists travelling from lectures and venues across campus. He adds that recently there were several complaints against students using pedestrian paths and campus roads without taking the necessary precautions. Gouws says that the TSC is requesting students to be cautious and adhere to campus rules, following incidents of carelessness and a lecturer being ridden into by a cyclist. “There is a possibility that students may be run over by cars, especially [at] bends in streets,” added Gouws. In this regard, students are advised to adhere to the following guidelines to ensure their own and other people’s safety:
Dr George Frederik Liebenberg, a senior lecturer in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development at the UP was shot and killed at his Vaalbank home outside Bronkhorstspruit on Friday evening. Liebenberg joined the Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development in 2010.
According to a News24 article titled, “No arrests yet after UP lecturer shot dead at home”, published on 14 March, national police spokesperson Colonel Lungelo Dlamini, was quoted as saying that that Liebenberg was shot in the upper body through a window, while working on his computer. He added that Liebenberg’s body was found the next morning by workers and that there were no signs of forced entry. According to Dlamini, no arrests had been made, and initial investigations indicated that Liebenberg was attacked by unknown persons. UP Media Relations were not available for comment, however UP spokesperson Rikus Delport, was quoted by News24 saying “everybody at the university was in total shock at the news of Liebenberg’s murder.” “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends,” added Delport. A memorial service for Liebenberg is to be held on Thursday, 23 March.
On 10 March, the North Gauteng High Court granted AfriForum leave to appeal the ruling made in December 2016 to set aside UP’s decision to phase out Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in 2017.
The case can only be heard once the Supreme Court of Appeal has heard a similar case between the University of the Free State against AfriForum, brought to court in collaboration with Solidarity. This case deals with the use of Afrikaans as a language of instruction at the University of the Free State and started on 17 March.
AfriForum welcomed the ruling and in a statement said, “Even though the cases of the two universities display differences, both are about the wider principles of vindicating language rights, the right to mother tongue education, as well as stipulations of the Constitution and other South African legislation in this regard.”
Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) was observed from 6 to 12 March in 250 cities, communities, and campuses around the world. Various organisations at UP hosted events throughout the week to create awareness around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has lasted several decades. The initiative has been running consecutively for 13 years and has grown a lot according to Yusuf Hassim, chairperson of the UP Muslim Students Association (MSA). Hassim said that the aim of the MSA with regard to IAW “is to create a unified and massified[sic] support for Palestine and to create awareness of the atrocities they are facing on a daily basis”. “This is no[t] [an] Arab issue, Muslim issue or Jewish issue, the issue at hand is simply a humanitarian issue,” he said. The South African Union of Jewish Students (SAUJS) Tuks Branch hosted events in conjunction with Stand with Us International. SAUJS released a statement in which they set out their goals: “to tell the full story of the conflict and counter the half-truths peddled by the opposing side in order to give students and lecturers alike a different perspective on how lasting peace can be achieved between Palestinians and Israelis”.
Events surrounding IAW were held at several campuses last week, including the University of the Free State, the University of the Witwatersrand, University of Johannesburg, and Stellenbosch University.
Photo: Kaylyn O’Brien.