Tsholofelo Wesi
2 minute read
26 Oct 2015
1:52 pm

Fees Must Fall ‘doesn’t represent needs of Afrikaner students’

Tsholofelo Wesi

AfriForum Youth on Monday handed a memorandum to the president’s office during a discussion of issues pertinent to Afrikaner students as a response to the Fees Must Fall protests and further explained why the organisation did not participate in the protests.

AfriForum Youth spokesperson Ian Cameron. PHOTO: Rekord Centurion.

In a statement, they also asked for respect for their right to learn, to be allowed to study in Afrikaans and “stop being subjected to quota systems”.

According to AfriForum Youth representative Henrico Barnard Afrikaans students sympathise with the financial issues raised by the #feesmustfall campaign, but their interests are not represented by “this group”.

The statement also distanced AfriForum Youth from the “tactics used by the protesters”.

“Non-participating students were attacked, some had to barricade themselves in classes out of fear for being beaten, students writing exams were disrupted and others were forced to participate. Even university staff members were held hostage. As a result, the majority of students were deprived of their right to education. We cannot associate with such behaviour,” Barnard said.

According to AfriForum Youth national spokesperson Ian Cameron, issues discussed included: “exclusion from financial assistance for Afrikaner students”, the race-based quota systems of access to institutions and the “dire” position of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction.

“Now, increasingly, we are faced with policies that seek to exclude us from education,” Cameron said.

The statement read: “We take note of the fact that the tertiary landscape has now changed. We are also cognisant that government will make a number of policy changes in this regard. We are intent on playing an active role in these changes to ensure that our interests are not disregarded.”

On their list of demands, some of the things asked for where that there be quality education for all, that the principles of academic freedom and institutional autonomy be respected by government, that race-based quotas with regard to university acceptance be disposed of in total, and that class-based and race-based quotas be disposed of where financial assistance is concerned.

University of Pretoria has announced on Monday morning that needy students will not have to pay registration fees when registering for 2016.

“Students who qualify for NSFAS funding, students who submit letters from sponsors, and financially needy students who make the necessary financial arrangements with the university will be allowed to register without paying the initial fee on registration, provided that they meet all other criteria,” Vice-Chancellor Cheryl de la Rey said in a statement.