University of Pretoria (UP) Hatfield campus students embarked on a silent protest yesterday, demanding that the university reinstates students who were suspended last year after the #FeesMustFall protests.
According to UP student activist Mathapelo Maganedisha, the protest was about raising awareness about the suspension and expulsion of students, which was not done according to procedure.
It has been claimed UP suspended nine students on false charges and on cases that had not been ruled on in court. Maganedisha added that eight of the nine students were excluded without proper procedure by the institution’s management.
She said the #FeesMustFall protests were peaceful but UP expelled students who were involved and got others arrested. “Some of them went to Kgosi Mampuru prison and stayed there for weeks,” she said.
Maganedisha said many students wanted to finish their studies but the institution failed to give them the platform to do so.
She said the university had not yet held a meeting with them to negotiate on behalf of the students who were expelled.
“Some of the students were doing their final year but the university didn’t allow them to write their exams,” Maganedisha said.
One of the expelled students, Marcus Mashinini, said the institution was victimising activists within the university. Student activist Tlangelani Malwandla said they had been trying, without success, to engage with university management. “We’ve been trying since last year and early this year but they’re not responding.”
Mashinini said they wanted the students to be reinstated since they had been unjustly suspended and expelled without proper procedure being followed.
He said they would form a “truth and reconciliation commission” to bring the suspended and victimised students back.