Mazibuko at tense NMMU ahead of SRC elections

Prudence Mini

DA PARLIAMENTARY leader Lindiwe Mazibuko is the latest to campaign for her party’s student movement in the run-up to the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) student representative council (SRC) elections.

Mazibuko was at the university’s north campus yesterday to support the DA Student Organisation (Daso) during its last leg of campaigning before students vote tomorrow.

Meanwhile the South African Students’ Congress (Sasco), the ANC’s student body, yesterday campaigned on the university’s south campus, distributing fliers to students.

Sasco regional secretary Chris Mncwabe said they would hold the Siyanqoba (pre-victory) rally at the north campus auditorium at lunch time today.

Mazibuko commended Daso for the work it had done, which the party says includes implementing an SRC bailout fund which assists students without access to financial aid.

Daso also said it helped bring in a new shuttle service, among other achievements.

“Daso managed to do this in a year. Imagine the possibilities if it was given another chance,” Mazibuko said.

She said it was unfortunate that the same could not be said for the leadership of President Jacob Zuma, with the country going “from disaster to disaster”.

From delaying implementing the youth wage subsidy to refusing to make principals accountable – by making them sign a performance agreement – it was clear that Zuma was taking instructions from Cosatu to gain political favour, Mazibuko said.

“We must be clear that if the government is for its own interests rather than the interests of others, it must change,” she said.

A leader should identify with the needs of the whole nation, similar to what Daso was doing for the students, she said, adding she was proud of Daso president Yusuf Cassim.

“He is truly a perfect picture of a future leader of the DA.”

Daso presidential candidate Yanga Sibelekwana urged the students to vote for Daso tomorrow, saying more needed to be done.

Mazibuko said she had heard that Sasco was engaging in intimidation tactics by tearing down posters and intimidating students who were wearing Daso T-shirts, because it thought it had the right to govern. She said the attitude of the ANC – where it believed it was the only party which deserved to govern – had filtered into the student organisation.

Yesterday morning students boarding a taxi shuttle were intimidated by a man wielding a knife.

Although NMMU could not confirm whether it was politically motivated, spokeswoman Roslyn Baatjies said the university gathered from eye witnesses that when students were about to board shuttles yesterday morning, a male student brandishing a big knife suddenly appeared.

“He instructed all students not to get into the shuttles. He ripped apart students’ books and slashed a T-shirt that a female student was wearing,” Baatjies said.

She said a Border Alliance Taxi Association (Bata) representative, Andile Tanga, who is part of the university’s Shuttle Service Monitoring Committee, quickly alerted passing police.

“The man was apprehended with difficulty, insulting and swearing at students in the presence of the law officers.

“Pepper spray was used to subdue him. The police took him and the service continued. He is being held at Humewood police station.

“NMMU does not condone intimidation of any kind by anyone. The incident this morning is unacceptable and the student will be dealt with in accordance with university disciplinary procedures,” Baatjies said.

Mncwabe said he had heard about the incident.

“Our investigations have [revealed] that this has nothing to do with Sasco. The person was using Sasco for his own reasons.”

Police spokesman Captain Johan Reeder said yesterday no criminal case had yet been opened.

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