Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s daughter, Wenzile Madonsela has alleged that arrested students of University of Pretoria were specifically targeted by the university authorities.
Wenzile, a law student is apparently defiant like her mother. She is the Economic Freedom Fighters’s general secretary at the University of Pretoria. She boldly told News24 that “there was a list that was circulated of students who they [the university] wanted to be arrested. Those arrests were not by chance.”
“They thought momentum would be gone with the arrests.”
Wenzile criticized authorities of the university for turning their backs on students. She also alleged that the pace of the crisis was strengthened by isolation of students leaders.
“They are just agitating and aggravating the students even more. The passive aggression is now gone, there is raw anger where students are tired of being victimised, tired of being second class citizens, tired of the divisions and Afrikaans classes and constantly being undermined by the university,” she said.
Tension brewed up in the campus on Monday over the use of the Afrikaans language and the situation metamorphosed into a clash between black students and their Afrikaner counterparts. The protesters, under the #AfrikaansMustFall banner, demanded the total removal of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction at the university. The campaign wasspearheaded by the EFF student command last week.
Following the crisis that rocked the institution last week, 27 people were arrested on Friday. The arrested persons appeared in court on Monday. They were charged for public violence. However, charges against three of them were dropped, leaving 24 of them to stand trial.
Responding, university spokesperson, Anna-Retha Bouwer, said the university cannot come into the matter because the arrest took place outside the institution’s arena.
“The arrests happened off campus and the police made the arrests. The university could not intervene by saying arrest this one and let this one go,” Bouwer said.
She said she and other students were attacked last week. She further claimed that the AfriForum Youth members were behind the attack. She said, “Those people were mandated to choose us as the aggressors. We did not do anything. They were the same people who were whispering to us, ‘jou ma se poes’, you’re a fucking kaffir, you’re a monkey’. They were agitating us.”
She said she sustained minor injuries during the attack and would not spare the AfriForum member who attacked her.
“I got injured and I’m taking the university to task because I’m a student of the University of Pretoria and their first priority is to protect the students and not to protect the institution”.
“I will be taking legal action against the guy from AfriForum, SAPS and the University of Pretoria because we can’t have this. Someone needs to be held accountable. We can’t continuously be victimized on campus,” she said.
Wenzile further enjoined the university to pull out from taking further actions against the students and withdraw the charges against them. She threw her weight behind the students, whom she said “are tired of institutional racism, they are tired of being black before [being] students and the university doesn’t care, but we will make them care whether it’s through legal recourse or protest. I won’t go for anarchy because I’m not an anarchist but it’s time.”
“Until the charges are dropped, we will continue to agitate and frustrate [the] campus.”
She said although it’s students who are losing out but justice must prevail. “Yes we are losing academic time but [with our fight] ours is [to say] academics first. [Our fight] is not to take time from the students but to promote equality on campus. The same kind of environment, the same rights that any other student has.”