UWC students voice demands ahead of registration

SOYISO MALITI

Students and workers at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) on Friday February 5 held the first of what may be many precursor meetings before registration opens on Monday February 15.

Student leaders of the #FeesMustFall movement addressed students and workers on the lawn in front of the student centre on Friday afternoon.

After highlighting several demands, including free education and the scrapping of student debt, there were chants from the crowd.

The leaders asked the Northern News not to take pictures of their faces – and to rather email them questions – because they feared victimisation from university management during the registration period. One of the students, who asked not to be named, told Northern News the meeting was a taste of what UWC and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) Bellville campus could expect on Monday when they both open for registration.

Late last year, violent protests erupted at the two neighbouring universities, with UWC students vowing to strike should “management not listen”.

One of the speakers at the meeting said most of the students had come from households “where the breadwinner is often a maid”.

UWC spokesman Luthando Tyhalibongo said the university had dealt with the protesters’ concern of outsourcing workers, but wouldn’t elaborate further on why some of them were at the meeting.

Questions sent to one of the students, who had organised the gathering and had approached the Northern News at the meeting, went unanswered.