- UNIVERSITY OF PRETORIA COMMUNITY
- South Africa
As concerned members of the academic staff at the University of Pretoria we wish to petition all members of the university community to work towards resolving the current impasse following various protest actions the past week.
As members of the university community we wish to contribute towards working out a deliberative resolution to the current situation as the university community did during the October 2015 #FeesMustFall campaign. To this end we call upon all members of the university community to start listening to each other and work towards a settlement.
We find it unacceptable that at the standoff that occurred on Monday 22 February 2016 on the Hatfield Campus leaders of the national office of Afriforum were present. These leaders are not students nor are they university staff. Cornelius Jansen van Rensburg, deputy CEO of Afriforum, was captured on video deliberately inciting the Afriforum-aligned group, issuing commands in Afrikaans to stand firm and move forward in formation. This aggressive behaviour was pointed out to UP security personnel who attempted to engage with him without any apparent success.
We urge university authorities to investigate this matter and ensure that no external agents provocateur enter campus grounds to incite any protesting groups of students.
We do however believe it ill advised to increase the presence of police and private security on our campuses. Our experience at UP and at other institutions of higher education has shown that the securitisation of campuses lead to more violence and to the criminalisation of protest. Protest action and conflict are integral parts of finding deliberative resolutions in a democracy. Deliberative resolutions work best when parties negotiate in good faith.
We observe a lack of good faith and trust on all sides in the current situation. Increasing the presence of security on campus will magnify the culture of fear that exists on campus and will result in greater mistrust and suspicion. It will not contribute towards the emergence of good faith on all sides. A long-term durable settlement for the future of our university depends on developing deliberative resolutions negotiated in good faith.
We appeal to all members of the university community, from students to management, to desist from all kinds of violence. We appreciate that in order to understand the history of our country, and the moment we are living in, we need to also see violence in a larger, structural context.
We should not reduce violence to the destruction of property, and we should not prioritise property over bodies and lives. Broadening our understanding of the nature and social effects of all kinds of violence seems to us to be a crucial step towards beginning the process of listening to each other and working towards a deliberative resolution.
We, the undersigned, call on all members of the university community to start listening to each other, participate in active dialogue and work towards a settlement.
We urge university authorities to investigate the presence of external agents provocateur on our campus on 22 February 2016 and ensure that no external agents provocateur enter campus grounds to incite any protesting groups of students.
We appeal to all members of the university community, from students to management, to desist from all kinds of violence. This includes refraining from further securitisation of the campus.
The Petition for Dialogue and Action Against All Forms of Violence at UP petition to UNIVERSITY OF PRETORIA COMMUNITY was written by UPAC and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.