Amos 'Amla' Monageng interview by Kyla Jade Mc Nulty, The University of Pretoria, 2 May 2016

Interviewer- I

Amla – A

I: Okay so the first five questions are for research purposes. It’s just background information about yourself. So it’s how do you identify your gender and what is your age and your ethnicity?

A: Amos Monageng, well known by Amla in the campus. I am twenty-four years old, a third year student in computer science.

I: Okay, and male?

A: Yes I am a male.

I: And ethnicity? That can be how do you identify as race or you can be more culturally specific.

A: I am black, but I’m Tswana.

I: And then land of origin; so where are you from, where did you grow up or where did your parents grow up?

A: I am originally from Mpumalanga. I grew up in Pretoria. My mum is from North West and my dad is from Mpumalanga. So since you know culturally when you are married it means you identify yourself by where your dad come’s from, hence I am saying I am from Mpumalanga.

I: Is there any known history of activism in your family?

A: Yes… not that much, but yes. My grandfather from my mother’s side, he was an activist, and even my brothers, the son of my dad’s brother, he was an activist as well.

I: Are you on or have you ever been on financial aid?

A: I have been on financial aid.

I: NSFAS?

A: Yes.

I: Do you stay at, or have you ever stayed at residences at the University of Pretoria?

A: No, I am not a resident student, I am a day student.

I: Okay then would you just briefly intro your schooling and political background, up until the present. So organizations you’ve been involved in, leadership roles you had…

A: Okay, when I arrived here in the University of Pretoria, before I started participating in politics I think at home while I was doing Grade 11 and Grade 12, under the banner of ANC Youth League. And from Youth League when I came to University of Pretoria, yes the Youth League and SASCO was there, but then I took a gap year from politics trying to observe and understand what are they doing. Following here, I have participated in SASCO as a general member and within Youth League as a general member. After being a general member, you know when EFF was incepted, I found myself on the center line, having to decide if I should remain within ANC or if I should leave with the EFF cadres. After interrogating myself I took a decision to say that you know I am going to join EFF. But you know when I joined EFF I was one of those members who were joining but not showing, because I had never even worn their regalia, I just stopped wearing regalia of ANC but then working with the cadres of EFF. Where the cadres of SASCO were having too much contribution, I used to work with them up until I told myself you know what, I cut ties within the ANC. I am going to be a full member of EFF, which was 2014, late 2014. Since then, I have been very active in EFF and when I started being EFF I started as a general member of course, then I was voted into office as a student affairs, the previous term, and then earlier this year, I became the Chair of EFF.

I: Okay, so now the next questions are going to be about the recent student movements, the events, the context, political context and all that. So, what role did the EFFSC play in initializing the September/ October protests at UP in 2015?

A: You know, to be quite honest, we have played a major role in that protest. If my memory serves me very well, I remember our former Secretary and I, which was Amogelang Kgaladi (sp?), and I, we went up and down trying to organize the protests but then, you know procedurally you will be chowed by the management because you know they don’t want those things, particularly being in UP. They don’t like protesting, and they don’t like the name of the University being brought into disrepute, and it has been very difficult. We have been doing up and down trying to contextualize why we are trying to organize a protest, why we want a legal protest, and what are our demands. After we have been defeated, or after the management refused to grant us opportunity, that’s when we’ve said enough is enough, we are going to go on with illegal protest. But before that I was recruited by the other members who were trying to establish UP Rising, and I was part of those people who formed UP Rising, but lately I have realized that I can’t shy away or I can’t distance myself from my organization saying that we need to unite the students knowing the dynamics of UP. I had to pull out and go back to the organization and represent the organization, and even the Secretary followed suit. Now when the protests erupted it was on Wednesday. I remember the Sunday we had a long meeting with the other organization trying to thrash out what we want, what we don’t want, even the issues of memoranda, how are we going to mobilize the students, you know those kinds of things. Now when it started I remember it started in a way we were supposed to have a mass meeting but then the night before we could have our mass meeting, the mass meeting was scheduled for Thursday, but the night before the security peeped it, because you know in every protest there are those we call traitors or sell-outs. Now the night before they discovered that’s when they started locking the campus, then we refused and we started going to social media saying that the students must come on campus at that night, I remember it was around 12 am. You know, after inviting the students, the students responded positively. Our mass meeting took place on Thursday, but then when the mass meeting started already it was started as a protest, we just had to contextualize it to the students to say what we want and why did we have to call them. Now from there it went, you know, it went very far till a point where we went to Union building. But then the role of EFF, you know post-apartheid we had ANC which reduced itself to a liberal organization, which it used to call themselves a radical organization. Now the role of EFF, you have your radical leaders there who can control masses, who can contextualize the matters politically, and who are very good even at tabling the matters to the management, and the role that we played it was very significant in organizing the masses in making sure that all the time the students moved towards the direction that we want.

I: So then also could you just give some more context on the role of the EFFSC [Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command] in student protests before 2015?

A: Before 2015? You know, before 2015, we must remember that the Student Command was incepted in June 2015. It’s a new-born structure, however we didn’t wait for our mother body to launch us. We have been operating under EFF as a mother body on campuses, and our role, you know before we went to the conference, our role was to bring the radical change in the institutions of higher learning. We have noted that the councellation [council representation] has substituted the justice, so as the leaders of the EFF Student Command we have realized that if we don’t stand up and act against the injustice that is taking place in the institutions of higher learning there is no one who is going to do that. We have seen that SASCO have been in existence for quite a long time. DASO have been in before us, but then there is nothing that they can produce and say that this is what we did. Now, if you check the EFF Student Command, there are those selfless leaders, fearless, brave people who want the change. We came together under the umbrella of EFF and when we were launched our mission and objective was to radically transform he institutions of higher learning, bring back the justice to the system, making sure that there is an equality in the institutions of higher learning, because if you check in the former white institution, there is still a very very large distance, or if not the differences, between the white people and the black people. Now it is upon us, the leaders of EFF, to make sure that we close those gaps, we make sure that everybody is on the same page. That’s the role that the Student Command is playing and those are the objectives of the Student Command. Of course, not representing the students only, but even the marginalized and exploited workers in the institutions of higher learning. You know, when we talk of justice, we can’t speak of justice of the students and leave out the workers. It’s going to be an incomplete victory if we emerge victorious on that, because we want a transformation for all. We want the system to accommodate everybody. So as the Student Command our role is to make sure that every student and every workers gets fair treatment wherever they are, irrespective of the field or irrespective of the colour.

I: So is there not much history of worker and student protests at University of Pretoria?

A: Look, I think the workers and the students protest, it has started with us as the EFF Student Command. We saw it happening earlier this year. It started from the 11th of January till the 20th I remember that’s when I signed the memorandum. Now when you check, in fact, as the Student Command already said, before the Student Command was incepted there have been conferences that we held trying to identify the missions of the Student Command, you know the objectives, and one of them it was to make sure that the outsourced workers must be insourced. Now when the Fees Must Fall started, we voted to include the outsourcing, but then because we were operating with the other structures we couldn’t. But fortunately enough, during the day where VC was signing the memorandum she allowed open hands from the floor, that’s when the EFF capitalized and raised the issue of workers to say that but we are talking about ourselves as the students, what about the workers that are being exploited, marginalized, oppressed, treated like trash whereas they are human beings? Then they have called for a commission to say that we will have a commission to look at that. But when we went back for those commissions, you know most of the time when there are negotiations it is going to take the neo-liberal direction, which is one of the things that we disagree with as the Student Command. One, it was prolonged because the commission was supposed to conclude on the 4th of December but it couldn’t, we extended to the 11th, it couldn’t, in fact it didn’t sit. Now on January we gave the management a deadline up until the 15th of January, but then as we went to break we realized that we are being impatient, it’s like requesting to talk to somebody about to pay, it’s like trying to explain how you feel to somebody who doesn’t want, who doesn’t care, and we have realized that you know the battle lost over the round table shall be won on the street, and hence we went to the street with the workers. You know I remember on the Thursday when we went to the street it was very difficult. You know, the parents who have families to take care of, knowing very well- you know having that cautiousness to say that ‘I might not get paid’, you know those were the things that they had to go through. Now the EFF had to give them courage to say that ‘Look, in as much as it is going to be difficult, in as much as we don’t have numbers, let us remain resolute. At the end of the day we will emerge victorious. And you know that protest it was very brutal. I remember the day when we were shot, that’s when I realized that the executive of UP is heartless, even the Police are very heartless, you know shooting the old people-

Police fire rubber bullets at protesting workers and students while they retreat. CREDIT: Christine Vermooten, The Citizen

I: Was this the 12th of January?

A: Yes. You know, shooting the old people and the people who are harmless, you know it didn’t make sense to me to see that. It seems like South Africa doesn’t care about us black people because of one, what we are demanding it’s a better life for those old people. Now on the, I think it was on the 16th of January, that’s when they opened room for negotiations and we went there as the EFF Student Command, even they workers themselves, and the other structures they were called to play a role. Our role, I remember we had to differ with the other organizations when they wanted the student matters and as EFF we had to prioritize the workers to say that the channel has been opened for the workers matters. We need to limit our scope so that we can deal with one problem at once. Now you have the other organizations who haven’t been part of the protest but then trying to impose themselves, like your NEHAWU. And when you question them why are you coming on the last day? They will tell you that constitutionally they are the one’s that are supposed to be representing the workers, but then when you look back you see that the workers have been suffering, I mean, we have observed that. Before we can entertain the issue of workers, we observed when you walk around, you know hearing the white person calling your parent a kaffir, calling your parent those names, you know it was very painful. You know where I am coming from, the family that I was raised in, whoever is older than me, he is my parent. As a result, it was very difficult for me to digest that. It was very difficult for me to accept it, to say that it’s fine, it’s life, I am here to learn, get my degree and leave. When you see those kind of things, it’s disturbing. At the end of the day they are the ones that pushed us to play a role in the End Outsourcing, and you know EFF played a very significant role in making sure that the workers get absorbed, because at the end of the day we emerged victorious under the leadership of EFF.

I: So you saying it was mainly the EFF SC involved in the End Outsourcing protest, and then other organizations came in at the end?

A: Yes, the protest was led by EFF and the workers. The other organizations came when we went to negotiate with the management, because management called them. However, during the protest, being on the ground, it was only EFF.

I: What other organizations got involved towards the end?

A: Your PYA, and UPAZ. You know, we differ in principles with the organizations. Of course we are having our own political ideology, they are having their own political ideology. I believe that there is no battle that you can win over a round table while you are still trying to explain your pain, while you are still trying to explain your sufferings, whereas the people that you are explaining those things to them; theirs is to care about the profit that they make, theirs is to care about the reputation of the institution only. Now we had to differ with the other organizations to say that ‘But then we’ve been requesting the meetings with the management, we’ve been patient with them, there’s nothing that’s happening. Why can’t we go to the street?’ But remember that when we go to the street you have your PYA which is aligned with the ANC, and the ANC is the one that passed the legislature that says that the services must be outsourced. Now it means they are going to contradict what their parents are saying. So it was very difficult for them to agree with us when we say ‘Let’s go to the street’. Now you find yourself in a space whereby should we go to the street alone or not? But then at the end of the day as the EFF Student Command we are representing the middle class and the working class, and we had to side with the working class. That’s when we had to part away and go to the street alone with the workers. At the end, when the management opened the room for negotiations, that’s when they started inviting the PYA and UP Rising, that’s when they came on board. Even your NEHAWU and the other trade unions, that’s when they came on board.

I: In January the University signed an agreement to commit to insourcing. What steps have they taken so far to fulfill this agreement?

A: Of course the University on the 20th of January they have committed themselves and one thing that we can see on the issue of the workers being insourced, one has to say that the university have been responding very positively on the insourcing of the workers. As we speak today, the security is wearing the university’s uniform. As we speak today, the security have signed an intermediate contract to say that by the first of May which was yesterday, they are going to sign the permanent contract, and we are yet to see it on the 5th of May, to look at that contract and other things. But on the issue of the mobile clinic that they have been talking about, it’s in place. The food services have been absorbed by the university as we speak. Then you know, there are very very positive changes towards workers, you know the top-ups, they have kept their word of saying that we will give the workers top-up so that they can earn 5.5. All the workers have been getting that, and as we are speaking we are looking contract by contract to say that when does the contract expire? How are we going to absorb? With security we are done, with food services we are done. I think the next companies are the maintenance companies that are coming, and then we know that the cleaning and the gardening are the ones that are going to conclude the project of insourcing, because their contracts expire in 2018, and remember by that time all the workers should be earning more than R10 000, if not R10 000. Thus far we are satisfied as EFF Student Command, even the workers, though there’s those nitty gritty’s, like the challenges the challenges the worker’s are facing, you know the petty worker’s that we can solve, you know we go up and down but at the moment I can say that the university kept it’s commitment.

I: How is the EFF SC helping to facilitate the insourcing process?

A: As the EFF I am sitting in the task team, making sure that all the procedures are followed. You know with the security I remember we had to differ with the management because initially when they gave the intermediate contract, for us we didn’t understand because we had to go and do thorough research on the SIRA [Securities Industries Regulatory Authorities] thing because they were telling us with SIRA, but after discovering that you don’t have to register with SIRA for absorbing the security if you had an in-house security before. We went back to the management and they agreed. Now, as I have said that on the first of May the security were supposed to sign a permanent contract, now I think they are going to sign it on the 6th because we are going to see it on the 5th to finalize those other issues and to look at the contract. Our role as EFF is at least to make sure that at the end of the day all the workers are being absorbed, and all proper channels are followed. We don’t want to find ourselves in a situation at a later stage whereby the workers didn’t get what they were promised, or we didn’t follow proper channels, as a result we can’t get what we wanted. So our role is to make sure that every proper step is followed.

I: Just to go back a bit, why do you think that the high fee increment for 2016 was such a pivotal event in mobilizing the student movement?

A: The 2015, come again?

I: The fee increment for 2016. So I noticed that at UP and at Wits and at some other institutions, when the students found out about how much the fees were going to be raised for 2016, that’s when the mass movement happened. So why do you think that was so important?

A: Look (laughs) I remember when we discovered, you know it was very difficult. I think it was exploitation at its highest level; the commodifying of education was being validated to say that if you are not privileged you can’t access the institutions of higher learning. Now you need to look your National Development Plan, what it says, in the report, there’s a part that says the black excellence or the black academics constitute 30%. Now you check and compare to say that they increase the fees with 100%, it was 250% for international students, and it was 100% for local students meaning South African citizens. Now you check to say that the government has a mandate to close the gap of the black academics, to increase it to at least more than 75%. When they raised the fees like that how are we going to close it? Because we are segregating those who are poor to access the institutions of higher learning. And of course if we allowed that, maybe perhaps even myself, I wasn’t going to be part of University of Pretoria students to day as we speak. It was unreasonable. And another thing, the ANC government have been promising us free education, free education there and there, but then when you monitor the system the fees keep on increasing rather than decreasing. Now you ask yourself that when you allow the fee increment, when are you going to get a free education? So it was of paramount importance that we do mass mobilization to stop the fee increment. And in fact, when you hear the context coming from the EFF side, we wanted the fees to fall, not to freeze, because when you check it is the commodifying of education. You know the people who are running the education system, their intentions or their priorities is to make profit, that is it. They don’t care about the quality of education that we receive, they don’t care about the other things, what they care about is the profit. Now as the poor student, you know talking on my own background, as a poor student who at some point knowing that if they increase the fees NSFAS might not cover all my fees, at the end of the day I’m going to be financially excluded, it was my duty to say that no let me organize the fellow poor student to rally behind the banner of Fees Must Fall so that we can remain safe, so that we can make sure that we get our degrees. Now on the issue of saying the importance of that, we must think very carefully about the direction that South Africa is taking, of this thing of allowing the commodification of education. When are we going to have free education? When are we going to close the gaps between the white people and the black people in terms of education? I was very certain on last week Monday when Stats SA released the stats saying that the companies are still dominated by the white males. Now you question yourself; what are we doing? Are we not intelligent as black people? Or is it because of the education has been commodified? Now we had to stop the fee increment, and even now we are having a mandate to make sure that the fees must fall. And as we are speaking we are still trying to strategize how are we going to make sure that the fees fall? Because one, as black people in this university you have your R76 000 that is allocated to you. Now the average degree here, you are paying R47 000 for arguments sake, and then lets say I am a res student, it’s R33 000. So you can see it is already exceeding the amount that I am being allocated to. Now automatically I am sitting on the debt which are, they call them the black debt whatever. Now it means majority of the black students were going to be financially excluded and we can’t allow that to happen, so the importance of us is to make sure that we do a mass mobilization, it was to make sure that we keep the black students that are on the system and we open the doors for the other black students to come and form part of the institution of higher learning. Those were the reasons for us to make sure that the fees don’t increase.

I: Would you please describe your experience of the 21st and the 22nd of October as institutions around the country were being systematically shut down by protesting students?

A: One needs to say that it was a year of learning. You know, controlling a mass of people it’s a difficult job, but we were inexperienced and we’ve managed to do it. And when it came to be a national crisis I was very cleared because now when you strike as an institution solely, lets say for arguments sake as UP, the government has the perception that at UP you have your EFF students who are just rowdy, anarchic, who just want to destabilize the education, which is incorrect. When the other institution came on board it was to say that ‘What we are calling, it is the legitimate concerns’. And as a result though it didn’t give us what we wanted at least it pushed us halfway to say that let the fees freeze. As an individual I can say I have learnt a lot. You know going to management and talking to them, trying to explain your poverty, you know, one fellow student likes to say ‘I hate the NSFAS, even the institution having to pay my fees because I have to parade my poverty. I have to prove that I am poor. You know I have learnt a lot, if I can say, you know for controlling the masses, playing a role of leadership, playing a role of drafting the memorandum. You know, we’ve drafted a memorandum but then you know like it was my experience like first time drafting a memorandum to management, first time being on the side of the students saying that you know what we are not going to allow, we are not going to accept even 5% we are not going to accept it, remaining firm. And one thing that I think I have learnt alone, you need to be firm when you are a leader. That thing, I have learnt from that time. You know I have been, I have played the roles of leadership there and there but having to lead that mass, it was a very big experience, that’s what I’ve learnt.

I: Could you share a description of what you experienced on the 23rd of October, the day UP protesters marched to Union Buildings for the Presidential address?

A: The experience, as I have already highlighted, they are intertwined, not connected. You know you have to control the masses and at UP they dynamics are very different. You have students who doesn’t give a damn about this Fees Must Fall, any protest, they will tell you that ‘you know what mine to be here is to get a degree and leave’, you know but you have to go and convince them, and on the 23rd when we led the students to Union Buildings, I was surprised when we pulled more than 20 000 students to go to Union Buildings, but one thing that I have to say, it was a difficult day. Now you’re having your students who are going to be mixed up with the other organizations, and you know our students who are still having that fear of being shot by the police, of having clashes with other students, it was very difficult for us controlling them from here to Union Buildings. When we get to union Buildings when the police were shooting you know they will come to you and say that as our leadership you took us from our campus, now you are allowing the police to shoot us, you know those kinds of things. It was very difficult, but at the end of the day you need to remain calm as the leader, try to explain to the students why that has to happen and how should we react when that happens. And one thing that I can say, discipline, maintaining discipline one the students that’s one thing that we’ve practiced and that thing it taught me to say that demonstration is not about fighting or burning tires, throwing the stones only, it must be last resort that thing, of course you need to be very disciplined so that the person that comes to handle you can see that you are disciplined, they don’t have to fight with you. But of course you have your police who doesn’t understand, they just see a mob of people, or the mass and they just start firing. So the experience was to say that though it can be a point whereby the students are going to be shot you need to explain to them and say that look even if they can shoot us, you need to remain resolute, firm, united. Now on that day I remember when the firing of rubber bullets and stun grenades were intensified, our students, some of them they had to leave, our students some of them remained on the ground, some of them they were fascinated by that because watching the 1976 youth on the tv, when you see it happening live you feel like you are a real activist, but remember that coming from UP it was very difficult, the type of the students that we are leading you know, we had to excuse ourselves as the leaders to say that lets take our students and go back to campus and lets make the problems of UP the problems of UP. If the president decides to not give us what we want, we will continue to shut down UP. That’s one thing that we’ve learnt to say that sometimes going to mix with the other institutions it doesn’t work, depending on the type of the students that we are leading. You know I remember when WITS arrived it was very difficult for them they had to leave because they didn’t want violence like us we didn’t want. But remember that to put pressure on people, and that’s one thing that I’ve learnt to put pressure on people it is to fight. Now we, unfortunately in UP we don’t have those type of students that can stand a fight and say that we are going to fight until the end. We are just having an elite group of the people that can do that, so I can see that we have learnt a lot to say that you need to be in a position to see what can work for you. For instance if you see that you are going to lose numbers, you rather stick with your numbers rather than keeping trying impress the other institution. That’s why there was your UP leaving, coming to explain to our students to say that look though those things have happened, we need to be resolute, move forward, make sure that on Monday we have the campus to shut it down if the UP doesn’t want to give all what we wanted, if we accept the fees freezing.

I: And then how do you think social media has facilitated or hampered the student movement?

A: The social media it’s the platform that in fact assisted us in terms if mobilization, spreading out the information, educating people on your demands. And one thing that I’ve learnt with social media it depends who uses social media, how do you report to your followers. You know one thing when we established the Fees Must Fall movement, we said we need to overcrowd social media, we need to break the server making sure that everyone can see there’s a crisis and it assisted because of  the people who are on social medias, though the majority are the students but it’s not only the students. Now you can communicate your message with non-students and they can understand your side, because one, we know the media can play both roles in assisting you or destroying you. Now we are left with only social media platform, the social media to address our issues to say that look what we want is this and that. And you are going to have those students who are going to criticize you, but you are going to have those students who are going to protect or defend you and side with you. The more you have the students who are defending and siding with you the more those who are criticizing are getting the insides of your demands, starting to understand, 'oh these people are not just fighting for the sake of fighting'. But then what they are raising is the legitimate concerns. And that’s why I can say it played a significant role, and even currently it’s still playing a significant role because if you check, it remains the only platform that we use for communication for many things, I mean as the activist you need to communicate with the other institutions and you need to tell your story, the entire country if not the entire world, they need to know your crisis, and the only platform that you are left with is social media. If you use wisely, it works positively for you, and what I can say it worked very positively for us.

I: What are your thoughts on how the university has managed and continues to manage the recent student protest?

A: Let me classify them in three steps: one the Fees Must Fall, particularly I am going to answer based on our institution, University of Pretoria. On fees must fall, it was a national crisis, it was everybody’s crisis. You have your black people, you have your fellow white people who are coming together forgetting the difference of the skin colour, saying that the Fees Must Fall. If you remember in the University of Pretoria we have never been shot during fees must fall. Because of what? One, all the races came together and said that the fees need to fall. Now you have your #EndOutsourcing where its led by black people only, there is narrative that says where the black people gathered together, they are planning violence, or there will be violence, and it doesn’t start now. We remember how Steven Biko were treated, Robert Sobukwe, all the other leaders. Now during End Outsourcing we were treated differently as compared to Fees Must Fall. We’ve been shot. Interdict. All those sort of violence from management, you know the management was very arrogant. There is no other way we can phrase it. They were very arrogant and the only reason that I see behind them being arrogant, it is because it was only black people, and in this institution we know there is no other way I can say that the racism has been institutionalized to a fact whereby though we have your reconciliation day they don’t give a damn with it. We have your Afrikaans Must Fall, which was black versus white. When you check the black people were interdicted, they were arrested, they were shot, beaten by police, suspended. Then you come to check on our white counterparts, there is nothing that happened to them. So in a nutshell what I am trying to say is it depends who are striking or who are leading the protest. If it’s black people of course the university management becomes very arrogant, aggressive, you know very violent. That is why you see our protest ended up being violent. It is not because we want to be violent, but it’s because when you are treated with violence you need to respond with violence. There is no way I can respond peacefully when I am interdicted, when I get beaten by police, when I get shot by police, whereas I am harmless, whereas I am not armed. I am not posing any threats to anybody’s life, any property, there is no property that we have damaged and University of Pretoria remains the one and only institution that doesn’t have damages. The other institutions are suffering the damage cost, but the University of Pretoria doesn’t suffer that. At the end of the day they are not even showing appreciation for us student leaders and the role that we are playing to say that look though you may see us a hooligans, as the anarchic rowdy people but at least we are in a position to lead our students into a good direction, to say that though we are fighting with the university management, let us not destroy our properties because at the end of the day once our disputes are resolved we need to go back to our schools and study. Now if we burn our institutions, where are we going to study? Not necessarily saying that people who are burning the buildings are wrong, it is because its perpetuated by the university management. You know when you become arrogant to the students you’re leaving them with no option other than fighting back and one of the ways to fight back it is through the damages because of one thing that if you can study the trend, even during 1976, even during the apartheid regime, one thing that the black people used to communicate their message it is through violence because you know have any channels that are open for you. So one thing that I can say towards the university management, if they can leave this thing of being arrogant I don’t think they will be any damages. So the arrogance of the management on it’s own it must fall, in a nutshell.

I: Okay so the national Fees Must Fall movement often transgresses the boundaries of political parties.

A: Yes

I: And largely becomes a non-partisan movement by the students for the students. Could you please give some insights into how different student factions have bonded together, or didn’t bond together under banners such as Fees Must Fall or End Outsourcing at UP?

A: We must be honest, though we might transgress our political parties, at the end of the day, earlier on I said when we initiated the UP Rising I realized that there is no way I can leave out EFF, and as a result in UP they have tried saying that we must put down our regalia and unite but there is no way it can happen. At the end of the day what we can do is to say that let’s unite. You know, one of the ways that we have discovered at the university of Pretoria when we are confronted with a crisis that needs us to come together, one would form a committee or a hashtag that will bind us together coming from different political spheres. You will have your PASMA, you have your EF Student Command, you have your PYA, and you’ll have the other organizations that will come together and sit and discuss how are we going to handle these things? It’s going to depend with what type of challenges we are confronted with. For instance during fees must fall it was PYA, EFF and UP Rising that had to come together and say that this is the black struggle, this is the challenge for us, regardless of the political affiliations, we need to come together. Now as the EFF we would say that no let’s have three leaders from different organizations who are going to control the masses, who are going to do all the duties, then the political parties, their role is to mobilize. And it worked very very well for us because Fees Must Fall we never had challenges, you know we had the EFF constituency, the PYA constituency and those non-affiliated students were accommodated by the UP Rising. Afrikaans Must Fall it was the same thing. Your PASMA constituency was there, your EFF constituency, even PYA, and the unaffiliated students of course they are still covered by UP Rising, and that’s how we normally resolve the issues of differing from the political ideologies, because if we were to be honest, I mean having the small factions saying that fees must fall, having their own memorandum, and the other faction, it’s not going to work. At the end of the day we need to unite and when we need to unite as black people we do unite and it does work positively for us.

I: Could you please give comment on what the third force narrative is that was presented by President Jacob Zuma?

A: The third force?

I:  Yeah so when he said that the student movements had a third force

A: Oh, my understanding is that the third force it’s the use of the police, the use of your bouncers. You know when they apply third force, you know one thing that I will never forget of Fees Must Fall, it is the UJ incident. After Fees Must Fall they started End Outsourcing. They were brutalized. We went to witness with our eyes, you know driving there you couldn’t even get off the car, couldn’t even show that you are wearing regalia because the police were very arrogant. This thing of applying third force, that’s what perpetuated the burning of the institutions, the burning of buildings, destroying of university properties. And you know student fighting back, it is because of the third force. I think the State needs to reconsider it’s application of the third force, because it’s killing us, it’s not taking us anywhere.

I: My questions on policing are at the end, would you rather talk about that now? Or maybe let’s build up to that? So, do you know of any funding the student movements at UP are getting?

A: Let me talk for EFF and then I will come back to the other one. As the EFF we have never been funded and we don’t get funding from anywhere. We lead the protest with the resources that we have and for example, when we led end outsourcing, the workers had to come with a lunchbox because we didn’t have anything to offer, but then the support, the message of hope, the courage, and the fighting with them and remaining in solidarity with them. Now coming back to the fees must fall that we saw it, it was funded, no-one can dispute that. One, you know your UP alumni came on board, and there was a task team that was established to go and seek funds to assist the students. You know you went to your Pick and Pay, your Spar, if they are having any left overs or there are any foods that they are not going to use, let them bring them to students. And of course, there will be those alumni who will say that we are committed to fund this. And during Fees Must Fall we had those kinds of alumni who funded the Fees Must Fall movement. And from there, we’ve never been funded, talking  for the University of Pretoria in general, because when we were leading the Afrikaans Must Fall there was no funding. There was nothing. So yes the funding came from the alumni. However there is a narrative that says that there is a particular group that is funding the Fees Must Fall, but then to our knowledge I have been very active and I have been very close and I have been one of the representatives, one of the leaders who led those protests, I don’t know any other source of funding except the alumni.

I: Would you please give comment on students not partaking in the protest 'right to write' during the protests? So students that aren’t protesting often complain about protests infringing on their rights to write their exams and.. 

A: Remember that the rights goes with responsibilities, and we must remember that I mustn’t protect your rights while violating my rights. As I have said that yes, I agree that we are infringing the other students rights, but even our rights were being infringed. We have the right to learn to learn as well. We have the right to be in institutions of higher learning. In as much as the have to study and do other things, even our rights mustn’t be infringed. And most of the time you will hear me saying that I won’t entertain those kind of students because they are not considerate. You find the students saying that we agree with you, the issues that you are raising are very legit, but then the approach that you are raising it’s not correct, as a result you can negotiate while we are studying, but if you remember and you check there is no way you can win a battle while everything is normal, you get it? So for me those students shouldn’t be entertained. In as much as their rights can be infringed, even us our rights are being infringed. So we are on the equal level, so no one must complain, and if they feel like they want to continue studying forcefully, let them act! Because you know one thing we must never shy away from, thina we take the initiative to say that we want to protect our rights, and I think it’s everybody’s duty to make sure that your rights are not being violated. You are entitled to do whatever you want. Now if you come and complain while not doing anything, it’s up to you but at the end of the day we must remember that even the protesters have the right to protest, and the very same protesters are the students who have the same rights to be educated, you get it? And the very same protesters are the very same people who have rights you know, in the Freedom Charter says that education shall be open for everyone, but then when we close them what are we doing? Aren’t we violating the rights of those protesters? So we mustn’t try to sugar coat it and say that it’s only them whose rights are being violated, even us our rights are being violated. So at the end of the day the only approach that we can take is not to entertain them because it seems like they don’t understand, they’re selfish, they care about themselves only. They don’t care about the greater larger population.

I: What are your feelings and experiences towards the dual language system at UP?

A: One has to say that you know our culture, some of us, we have been taken away from, and it’s not starting when you enter the university. When you check we are left with nothing, I mean starting from the lower levels of education, coming from your primary [school], there is no way you are being taught with your mother tongue. And when you enter the institution of higher learning, it’s the same thing, but then you are having your Afrikaans and English. Then when you sit down and analyze you discover that Afrikaans is a mother tongue like mine, Tswana as a mother tongue. Now you have to question and say but then why has my language been relegated to benches whereas Afrikaans had been developed and praised like the other languages, being treated like it is superior as opposed to other languages? Now to me, I don’t want to lie, it’s very painful for us as black majority because you know they have been saying we will be developing African languages, till today there is not any indication to say that they are going to develop them. Now the only thing that we must do is to abolish the dual language policy and implement uni-language policy because it creates fairness. One has to say that the university has the Vision 2025, which it’s objective is to create a coherent and diversified society. Now you need to question yourself to say that if we are still having dual language policy how are you going to reach that? How are you going to make sure that the racial segregation is being abolished? Because we are still racially segregated. We are still not treated equally. And yet we are still expected to reconcile with them. Now you need to ask yourself questions to say that how do I reconcile with somebody who doesn’t show remorse? How do I reconcile with somebody who never even apologized? How do I reconcile with somebody who doesn’t acknowledge his wrongdoings? Now your response is to say let me fight back, because if you check those things it’s to fight, because when Mandela signed the Constitution of South Africa it was to protect the nation. It was to make sure that South Africa remained a diversified society. It was to make sure that South Africa remained a society that is accommodating to everyone. But when you check, the institutions of higher learning are contradicting that. One, when you are still having your dual language policy it means I can’t have a white friend because we are not going to the same classes. Two, how are we going to make sure that university becomes a place that is conducive for everyone? Because I am still going to view them as the white people who did this and that, you get it? But as soon as we we enter one class, for arguments sake a sociology class, let’s say we enter sociology class, we can argue about many things, they are going to learn a lot from us, we are going to learn a lot from them. But you guys your parents have stolen our land. What is your view on that? They give their side. But then at this particular point, there is no way we can share views with the white people because we are still racially segregated, and they are still being prioritized. You check your Res placement policy, it is still 60/40. 60% white, 40% Africans. What does it say? Hence you find us the black people speaking of the institutionalized racism, you know the white supremacy in this institution. It’s because of the dual language policy. If we can abolish it, I promise you that we a going to have a well diversified society, you know I don’t think you’ll find students uttering a racist word on his fellow students because we will be friends, we will be working together, we will be helping each other to say that you know after leaving the institution of higher learning I am going to start my own company and you can come and join me. The reason why many companies are still dominated by the white males is because starting from the institutions of higher learning we can’t build the relationships, we can’t work together. How can the entire society of South Africa expect us to work together or to be on the same level whereas we have failed at the lower level. You have to start at the lower level going up, that’s when you can have a good relationship, that’s when we can have a company that is owned by black and white. But then at the moment there is no where we are taking South Africa, there is no way we can contribute towards the change in South Africa to make sure that South Africa remains a society that is accommodating everyone, a society where you find white people being friends with black people, there is no way we are going to see that any time as long as we are still using the dual language policy because we are perpetuating the racial segregation.

Amla leading protest against the UP's dual language system, on 19 February 2016 CREDIT: Shen Scott

I: The UP SRC [Student Representative Council] released a statistic that only 13% of students go to the Afrikaans lectures or use Afrikaans as a medium of instruction. Do you think that’s more or less correct?

A: The statistics that was released by SRC I think isn’t it 17%?

I: Yeah well I saw 13%

A: 13% Yeah the report that I received was from Professor Duncan which says 17% of the students preferred to study in Afrikaans. Within the very same 17% you might be correct when you speak about 13 because there are those ones who are still attending English. Yes it is correct. And one, the reason why I am saying it’s correct go to the Afrikaans classes, you find twenty students, few students. Go to you English classes and the lectures are overflowing. The students are sitting on the floor, and when you see that it is perpetuated by the dual language policy. People are still disagreeing. So the statistic is correct, only the 17%, the one that I have in print is 17%.

I: So then if 60% of the campus is white and only about 13-17% is going to Afrikaans lectures, how else is racial segregation or cultural supremacy entrenched on the campus?

A: You must remember it’s not the issue of saying that we are attending with the other white students only, but remember that as Afrikaaners the treatment that they are receiving, you know you have too much contact time with the lecturer. You have your space, you know in the lecture hall, as opposed to the English classes where you have congested, large lectures. You know there are lecture halls that can accommodate 500 students, but then you find that lecture hall overflowing, what does it say? For arguments sake I can say that means twenty students have a similar contact time of one student with Afrikaaner students with one lecture. So it means there is no way us the English students can have a fair contact time as opposed to the Afrikaaners. And again, on the issue of the cultural supremacy, we are not talking about it on the superficial level, we need to consider even the treatment on the campus as well as the res cultures. The only culture that is practiced in this institution is Afrikaaner cultures. Now what does it say about the baPedis, the Tswanas, the Ndebeles? Don’t they have culture? So they white supremacy still prevails in this institution and has been institutionalized to the point where we can see as black people, that is why you have your other students who will be saying that but I don’t see anything wrong with having dual language policy because I am being taught with English and Afrikaans is not imposed on me. But then when you check you analyze closely, you know we are paying for their fees, you pay for tuition, I pay for English, and they pay equal amount that I pay, then where does the Afrikaans study materials come from? It means they deduct from the money that I am paying. Then if they want to have their Afrikaans, they want to keep it? Let them pay it aside from the fees that we are paying, because now I am paying my tuition which I can’t afford as a black person by the way, on top of the paying my fees, I am still paying for the Afrikaaner students. It’s not fair, that is why we are saying that the white supremacy has been institutionalized. It’s not only the matter of saying that let us be in the same class, again it is to say that the reason why we can’t have many black academics, we don’t have enough contact time with the lectures as opposed to the Afrikaaner students because of, one, if I had been taught with my mother tongue, it was tested in your UKZN and UP, tested if I am learning with Tswana I can do much better as opposed to learning in English. Now what are we saying, in their learning with Afrikaans they do much better than us, you get it? Let us be on the same footing so that we can see whether the statistics that we have is a true reflection of what is happening in the country when they say the Afrikaaners are contributing a lot toward the academics of the country. If we are on the same footing and as the blacks and we are still failing then we accept to say that black people are dumb, are naturally dumb. But at the moment, we are being treated as if we are not intelligent, we are dumb; but then if you check the treatment, it’s not equal. That’s why we are saying that the dual language policy is a fault, there is no way is it accommodating towards us black people.

I: A Language Task Team was set up at the university in April 2015 to review the language policy. The task team has since proposed a change from a dual language system to a single language medium of instruction. This proposition has been rejected by Afrikaans Organizations such as AfriForum and AfriForum Youth who believe their culture and heritage are under attack. What is your experience of the conflict between pro-Afrikaans and anti-Afrikaans protesters been?

A: We are not anti-Afrikaans. We are anti- institutionalized Afrikaans. One, the question of saying that is the university a museum where people preserve their culture or is it an institution of higher learning where people need to contest thoughts? It has to be raised. When you raise those questions, you know I have interacted with AfriForum guys, you know there is no strong argument that they can give you for why we should keep Afrikaans. One thing that they can say, it is to preserve their culture only. They feel like we are taking their culture, but when you raise a counter argument to say that what about us who left our cultures at home? What are you saying about us? They have nothing to say. What about us who have left our mother tongue language at home and say that this is the institution of higher learning, we are here to contest thoughts, we are here to be equipped academically, we are here to be prepared to go to a corporate world so that we can exercise the skills that we’ve been taught. Not coming here to preserve our cultures, not coming here to practice our cultures. You know, those are the things that we raised and they have nothing to say! And as a result it is unfortunate that we are classified as anti-Afrikaans whereas we are not. One thing that we are saying is to say that let us be treated equally. Let us be on the same footing when we study. Let the same first year of a black child be the same as the first year of an Afrikaaner child and see if the performance is still going to be very different. Their fear or their reason to preserve Afrikaans is because they are aware that as black people since we can survive being taught with English whereas its not our mother tongue, we’re going to do better than them because of one thing that they can do best it is to be taught with their mother tongue, only. If they were to go to English, they’re going to struggle like us. You know, we’ve been struggling with English and each and everyday we learn with English. It’s not our mother tongue, we are still learning. Let them come and join us and struggle. Let them stop classifying us as anti-Afrikaans. We are not anti-Afrikaans. We understand the history of Afrikaans. We know that the Afrikaans is the second largest spoken language in South Africa. By the way Afrikaans is the well diversified spoken language, but our challenge is the institutionalized Afrikaans that is perpetuating the white supremacy, and it’s unfortunate to classify us as anti-Afrikaans. They may be pro-Afrikaaner, we don’t have a problem with that. Let them speak the Afrikaans on campus, let them do whatever they want to do, but then when we go to the classrooms, let’s speak English. Let’s all struggle. And if they want to practice their cultures let them allow us to introduce our cultures. But then because us we are considerate and us we can think we know that economically it is not feasible to say that we can practice all eleven official languages or cultures in the institution of higher learning hence we are saying lets leave our cultures at home. Let’s come here for education only.

UP Afriforum Youth also led by Afriforum members, protest the meeting set up by the Language Policy Task Team with SACO-UP, EFFSC-UP and Uprising on 22 February 2016. Members of Afriforum form a human wall as members from the other student bodies are regrouping after the meeting was suspended due to the disruption. Conflict between the groups ensue. CREDIT: Fezekile Msimang

I: Okay, do you want to speak a bit more on the conflict? On the physical conflict that happened that was very black versus white.

A: You know Blade once classified it as a racial confrontation, but when we are honest, when the intellectual debates run away from you, you resort to violence. And when you check how it erupted, it was proven that the Afrikaaners or the AfriForum, they didn’t have any intellectual capacity to debate with us on why we should remove Afrikaans and when they were supposed to defend it hence they resorted to physical fighting. And it is unfortunate that the media portrayed it as if the EFF cadres have started the violence. The management portrayed as if the EFF cadres have started the violence. It wasn’t that way. And we have opened the room for arguing with them to say that let us debate on why we should remove Afrikaans, but because they don’t have any capacity to debate they reduced the movement to a physical fight to a point whereby you know they have this thing of being in possession of guns, because we have been promised to be shot. We have been promised to be killed. We have been promised to be beaten up, thinking that as black people we are still having that fear of saying that you know you can’t touch a white person, you can’t fight with a white person. Unfortunately it’s no longer the same way. When you confront us with violence we are going to react with violence. Unfortunately we have tried to instill discipline into our students but we were fed up to say that why are our leaders being beaten up? Why are our leaders being threatened? And we are sitting down not reacting. And when you check how the physical part was perpetuated, it was the management who perpetuated that thing. I remember the Registrar of the University Niek Grove, when we separated the students and said that let us black students take this direction and the Afrikaaners take this direction, yoh yoh yoh yoh yoh, Regristrar comes and addressed the Afrikaaner students with Afrikaans! What does it say to us as the black students? It means we are being undermined by the Registrar. It means the Registrar says those ones are crazy, and to prove that Afrikaans shall not go anywhere, I am going to address you with Afrikaans, you get it? That’s why we had to resort to physical violence, and you know the black students had to defend themselves. When we were under attack there is no way we can fold our arms and say that the Police will protect us, because the Police were receiving their mandate from Grove who said you must go and skin the black people, who said you must protect the white people. SO the conflict part, it was unfortunate, it was portrayed as if the black people were perpetuating whereas it is not correct.

I: On the 19th of February this year, yourself and 26 other protesters were arrested while protesting the language policy at UP. Would you just tell us a bit more about what happened that day?

A: You know about the arrest, yes the students were arrested. You know there is an interdict against the protest continues. The students will be arrested, but what surprised me… I survived when they arrested students, I wasn’t arrested up until when I said let me go and see who are the students who have been arrested, never mind who are they, how many students were arrested so that I can be in a position to know who is arrested so when I call the lawyers I have sufficient information to convey. When I got to the Police Station they arrested one student for taking pictures. You ask ‘How can you arrest the student for just taking pictures?’ whereas the Police were videoing us. Now you find your Station Commander who said, ‘In fact the person that was supposed to be arrested is this guy. You must arrest this guy.’ That’s when they started beating me up. Before my arrest I got beaten within the Police Station. When I left the Police Station they said ‘No you mustn’t allow him to leave. Arrest him.’ I ran away and you know I don’t know if you have been in the kasi or if you have watched these movies that portrays what is happening in kasi, you know when the drug dealer is being chased away by the Police, you know you will find many thousand police running after the drug dealer. It was exactly like that, you know you have your private police, you have your SAPS police, you have your Metro police, you have your TRT police, you know running after an individual who is harmless, who is not even contravening any interdict by that time. My arrest was very difficult. I got beaten by police when they arrested me. A physical assault, all those sorts of assault, and when you question ‘Why am I abused like this?’ they say it is because you are the one who is leading the strike. But when you compare to other students, they were just arrested just like any other student, and unfortunately there was one other student who was beaten like me, and you know I found it very disturbing to say why would the police do that because the duty of police is to make sure that all the parties who are in dispute are safe. Never mind blacks or whites, their duty is to make sure that the blacks are safe, the whites are safe, but then when you pick a side and beat us as the black students, what message are you sending to the entire South Africa, to the entire world? It means the black’s life doesn’t matter. In every dispute that exists, if there is an issue of race that is between white and black, the black is in the wrong, he is at fault, never mind the merits of the case. But then by virtue of being black it means you are wrong. So one of the experiences was to say that, you know the black life doesn’t matter. Black man you are on your own. Your sin is to be black, that is why you are being harassed, that is why you are being physically assaulted, and it was a very, very bad experience for us because you know when you compare to your 1976 protest, it is the same thing. When you compare it to... What is this protest? When they killed 69 people? It is the same thing, because the third force which is know by the police are being used to silence the voice of those who are voiceless, and it’s unfortunate that the students refused to be silenced. Though it may seem like we are being silenced by the interdicts that we have, the charges that we have by the University, suspensions, even those who were arrested, it is not correct to say that we are being silenced. Sometimes we have to understand nobody is above the law. We need to subject ourselves to the constitution, we need to subject ourselves to the law because once we do away with our constitution, we are nothing, we are gone. South Africa will remain a chaotic country, will remain a banana republic which is one thing that we don’t want. That is why we said let the law prevail after all our students are free, or have been charged, we will go back and say that the Afrikaans must fall. But the experience was very painful, I don’t want to lie.

Amla being arrested by police after being identified as a student leader. CREDIT: Shen Scott

I: Are you part of the TUKS24 that’s still going through court proceedings?

A: No no no. My charges were dropped. Remember the police realized that they were at fault. You can’t just beat somebody because the management viewed that particular person as a threat, and because you feel like this is the person who controls everyone, who is influential to everyone, you just beat the person. Now they have realized gore I have a strong case against them and once they persecute me, you know when I sue them it’s going to prove that these guys just wanted to silence me, but then the mechanism that they used was wrong. Hence I never allowed them to get away with it. I have made sure that I sue them, and we have filed our applications and thus far I think there is progress, because we are still waiting for a response from the Minister of Police. The other two students against whom the charges were dropped are the two who were arrested when we went to check how many students were arrested. They were arrested for taking footage. You know the remaining students, we know that the State doesn’t have a case against them, however they are just trying to silence them because we know that the State is involved, whether we like it or not. One thing that surprises me, it’s not long ago when the President emphasized that the institutions of higher learning they have what you call institutional autonomy. But then when the State starts fiddling in the issues of the universities we get confused to say that but isn’t it the State that said you have the institutional autonomy, you can solve your issues? But then yes, I am not part of the TUKS24, my charges were withdrawn as a result of the behavior that the police gave to me.

I: How were the police able to identify you as a leader?

A: Look, they were provided with photos by the management.

I: The University management?

A: Yes, the university management provided them with the photos. When I was arrested I was already aware that they want me. It was not the first time. During outsourcing I remember I received a call from a random person saying that wherever you are you need to get moving because the police are coming for you. Make sure that if you are not moving, don’t be alone because they can kidnap you or do whatever they do with you. And even this time, when they arrested me, I was aware. I was informed, ‘Chief you need to be aware that the Police are coming for you’. And you know you would be surprised, all the Police knew my name, my details. Now you start asking yourself, 'where did they get them?' So it validates my point to say that the management gave them the photos because I saw those pictures and I saw the list of the students were supposed to be arrested. But unfortunately the students were supposed to be arrested just to make it as if, 'No we don’t want to show we wanted to arrest Amla only'.

I: What charges have the TUKS24 been arrested on?

A: It’s malicious damage of property, disruption and contravention of the content of the interdict, yeah I think it’s two of them. Yes.

I: And is there a lot of support for the TUKS24 on campus from the students?

A: Look the students are still supporting them and the entire Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command branch is fully behind them. There was no court that they attended without our presence. And we have been encouraging the students to support them, and there is still a lot of support from the students, when you check when they go to court, if you check the social media you have your sympathizers, you have those ones who will come to court, chant outside court to say that ‘Free our leaders, they have done nothing wrong. Their sin is just to be black, hence they were arrested’.

I: Are there any important differences to note between Police and private security in terms of the way they deal with protesting and the students?

A: In the University of Pretoria there are no differences because all of them, their mandate was to protect white people. Their mandate was to fight black people. Their mandate was to make sure that we suffer the pain to a point whereby the following day we can’t continue with the protest. You have your private securities, which are known as bouncers, who will come and assault you. I mean you explain to them that you’re not supposed to be doing this because we are brothers at the end of the day and this is the narrative that we need to push as the black majority, but then because of they take mandate from the management, it ‘s unfortunate. They don’t listen, and at the end of the day the black students remain the ones who are being harassed, physically assaulted.

I: What is the current environment on campus like, especially with regards to the relations between the conflicting groups?

A: Look, there will be differences always, and we won’t accept each other up until we resolve the disputes. One, we have developed, I don’t know it’s not a hatred, but then we have developed a character to say that there are those students who are being treated like eggs, who are being prioritized in this institution, but us black people we are nothing other than trash. We are nothing other than the punching bags, and as a result it draws a thick line between us and white students. There is no way I can easily accept that the white students are being treated, how should I say, better than the black student; we’ve observed it, we have seen it. And as a result there is no way we can accept it. So there will be differences always, and there are those differences you know, the EFF Student Command can’t sit at the same table with the AfriForum guys. We are the enemies, and most of the time we view those people as the enemies because they are enemies of the transformation. They are enemies of the progress, working towards the transformation of institutions of higher learning. So there is no way we are going to have a relationship with them.

I: Is there any additional comment you would like to give that maybe wasn't covered in the interview?

A: Not really, but what I can say is to re-emphasize the arrogance of the management towards the students and trying to contextualize what we call the violent protest and the peaceful protest, and even where it comes from. Look, there have been talks going around the campus saying that the students need to be aware of the peaceful protest, they need to have peaceful protest, but when we check how come we end up in a violent protest? We are peaceful to the system that is very peaceful to us, and we are arrogant to the system that is arrogant to us. Now the management, they need to go and interrogate themselves to say why are the students violent?  It is because the management has been very, very violent to us, very arrogant to us, and they’ve built a system that is very exclusive to black people. They need to consider that in order for us to be peaceful they need to start by being peaceful. There is no way you can dismiss our concerns without looking at them, without analyzing, without giving the context of why you are dismissive. It means you are being violent to us. The management needs to be considerate and say that in order for us to be peaceful, let’s have a way to treat the students, let’s have a way to deal with the student leaders. You know, at the end of the day we are the ones who control masses. In as much as they are occupying the offices, they mustn’t forget that we are the stakeholders and we are the legit stakeholders and we are the ones that make the university go. If we stop coming to university the following day they won’t have work. The university won’t function. As a result, we are the primary stakeholders in this institution, so they need to be able to listen to the concerns of students without taking sides. One has to say that the way that the students are being treated is not only within the University of Pretoria, it’s across the country. We saw it with Mandla Makhanya  (sp?) from the university of South Africa. We saw it with Tem Nkwadi (sp?) from the University of North West. I mean the way they are treating the students, they are perpetuating the violence and I mean how are we going to be peaceful? And again, you know there is no way we can be asking for Afrikaans to fall, we can be asking for transformation, and you come to us requesting commissions that are not even contextualized with what we are asking for. I mean the people that haven’t been seeing any wrongs with the system are the ones that are being prescribed to facilitate the proceedings of the commissions. Why all along they didn’t take initiative? The students took initiative to say that the university needs to transform. The students must be afforded opportunity to dictate the terms of reference. The students need to be afforded opportunity to dictate which direction the commission must take, how to handle it. Now when you come to us and dictate and say that we’re going to have commissions and we will subject your recommendations to Senate, after Senate we will subject it to Counsel, what is going to happen when Counsel dismisses our concerns? It means we didn’t do anything! Some of us were arrested; some of us were beaten for nothing! So management needs to be considerate to say that let the students be heard. Let there be a channel of students where they can raise their concerns, you get it? The DSA is not sufficient. The Department of Student Affairs, your SRC is not sufficient, because it is micromanaged. And as a result we believe in democracy as well, let them at least create the platform for us to raise the concerns so that we can deal with them, because we don’t want to destabilize the institution of higher learning or to destabilize education. What we want is the transformation, only. That’s what we are asking.

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