Parents of protesting UWC and CPUT students have united to form the Fees Must Fall Parents Solidarity Committee, following allegations of police brutality against some students. The two Belville-based institutions have been the scene of violent protests over the past week, carrying on from the successful nationwide #FeesMustFall campaign that effectively shut down tertiary institutions across the country more than three weeks ago.
In a motion of solidary, parents have spoken out against what they deem as unconstitutional treatment of 16 students arrested on campus last week.
Doreen February, whose son was amongst those taken into custody, said that parents were denied access to see their children, while information on their whereabouts was also withheld.
“We decided that we can’t let whoever was involved harm our children further and we need now to step in and support their campaign,” she explained.
She said parents were eager to contribute in any which way they could to achieve a peaceful resolution to the protests, so as not to harm the education process any further.
Addressing the ugly scenes of violence on the part of some students, which include the setting alight of buildings at UWC and CPUT, February assured that parents strongly condemned such acts.
“The campaign started peacefully but in between there were some events (that spurred violence), and now both parties must take responsibility for that. The university must (also) take responsibility,” she said.
In addition, the parents have also approached the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to conduct an investigation around the violence taking place on the respective campuses.
The parents committee on Monday held a four hour meeting with UWC vice-chancellor, Tyrone Pretorius as well as the leadership of the Fees Must Fall protests on campus, to find a peaceful resolution that would take into account the concerns of students.
As a result, a task team will be established that will compromise university management, the Student Representative Council (SRC) and the Fees Must Fall leadership.
“They must sit and identify other stakeholders in the university community, such as academics and workers, to form a sort of committee to set an agenda for the outstanding issues that needs to be attended to in order to take this forward,” she added. VOC