JOHANNESBURG. – Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema rounded on Wits University Vice Chancellor Adam Habib yesterday after the suspension of seven EFF supporters and the disqualification of its Student Command (SC) following a campus ruckus.
“@AdHabb you are extremely wrong and you know that, who are you to suspend a political formation because of conduct of individuals? Be warned,” Malema tweeted.
The seven students were suspended after Habib set up a probe into scuffles during a Student Representative Council (SRC) election debate on Tuesday.
The university said it had isolated 15 students after watching video footage of the debate between the EFFSC, the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYC) and student movement Project W.
The PYC includes the Young Communist League, the Wits Muslim Society and the African National Congress Youth League while Project W describes itself as a multiracial group that does so well on campus that it has been confused with campus management before.
Video footage of the debate shows students on stage stamping their feet and clapping during the debate, and a bout of pushing and shoving, before the debate was called off.
In a statement, the university said it immediately took action by identifying those involved. The vice chancellor and a committee met all of those involved, between Wednesday and Thursday.
It said eight expressed remorse and would still face a disciplinary process. They can still go to lectures. The other seven did not show remorse, according to the university, so have been suspended and had to leave the campus.
They will also go through a disciplinary, which is expected to be concluded before the end of September.
Recognition of the EFFSC, which the university calls the EFF Society, was also withdrawn and it has to reapply for recognition. The election to the student body is on August 27 and August 28 and it will go ahead with increased security.
But EFF supporters took to Twitter to express outrage over the issue, believing the decision was anti-black and was taken under orders from Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande who has said he wants the EFF destroyed, when he was speaking in his capacity as SA Communist Party secretary-general.
During the heated exchanges, EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi called Habib “headmaster” and “Hitler” and at one point, while Habib was trying to justify its anti-violence stance, he referred to gangsters and tsotsis, when justifying the university’s anti-violence stance.
“Students who are suspended are those who were involved in violence, threatened violence, and say they will do it again,” said Habib in one tweet.
At the height of the exchanges, Ndlozi tweeted on Saturday: “Your hatred for EFF dear headmaster @AdHabb has turned u into a klein Hitler I see. Or some aspirant Verwoerd who ban people u disagree with”.
And Habib wrote: “Have some confused radical with violence, protest with Tsotsi behaviour, politics with gangsterism? This must be challenged!”
By Sunday Ndlozi tweeted: “@AdHabb let’s say 5 EFF students are indeed violent; this does not constitute grounds to ban the whole EFF. That’s collective punishments”. – News24.