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Open Stellenbosch has valid grievances, wrong approach: SRC chair

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While the issues motivating student organisation Open Stellenbosch are valid, newly-elected Stellenbosch University SRC chairperson Axolile Qina disagrees with the way in which the group highlights its grievances.

Open Stellenbosch describes itself on its Facebook page as a “collective of students and staff working to purge the oppressive remnants of apartheid in pursuit of a truly African university”.

News24 last month reported on a protest which broke out in a third-year political science lecture hall at the university’s Arts and Social Sciences Building.

In the video sent by an eyewitness, students are seen leaving the lecture hall as a handful started chanting.

Shortly after, the group reiterated its call for an end to the “t-option”, where lessons are taught in both English and Afrikaans.

“Sometimes their demands do not regard the complexities and process of transformation,” said Qina, a master’s student studying Theology.

Qina pointed out the recent disruption of lectures as a case in point.

‘Patience is needed’

However, he said, he too was concerned about the issues raised by the group.

“The holistic factors of the language policy should also be considered and patience is needed, because the university is in the process of making the changes for the benefit of all students.”

He said he would be engaging with the group on their demands.

“I want to get the different parties [around] one table so we unify [the] campus together and accelerate the process of transformation already occurring by using the leadership structure more effectively.”

The university management will on Tuesday be appearing before the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training to table their transformation plans after allegations of racism at the institution, highlighted in the documentary Luister (Listen), in which students tell of discrimination on and off campus. News24

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