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Johannesburg - The University of SA should apologise for withdrawing permission for an EFF seminar on land reform at its Pretoria main campus, the party said on Friday.
“We call upon Unisa management to apologies for creating the conditions for EFF’s right to freedom of association to be undermined...” spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said in a statement.
The university should also apologise for failing to “defend its student”, Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema, who wanted to “participate in the open learning and debate on campus”.
Malema on Thursday ignored a Unisa management decision to cancel his talk on land distribution. Instead he addressed students outside the hall.
The SA Students' Congress (Sasco) and National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) at Unisa were apparently unhappy with Unisa hosting the event.
On Thursday, members of the EFF and Sasco insulted one another, and a scuffle resulted in Sasco members being injured.
Unisa declined to comment on Friday, except to reiterate its previous message that permission had been withdrawn over fears that the meeting would turn into an EFF political rally.
The initial permission for the seminar did not extend to this, and “other formations on campus were opposed” to an EFF rally without the requisite permission, Unisa said on Thursday.
It had taken the decision to withdraw permission “to prevent possible damage to our property and to safeguard lives”.
Ndlozi said the EFF had taken a decision to proceed with its gathering at Unisa, despite the cancellation of permission.
“We had to arrive and demonstrate that we take the message we gave to our people seriously.
“...EFF is prepared to defend its ideas and the freedom to advance them in public platforms.
“Many indeed try to stop us, silence us or wish us away because our ideas are fire and resonate with the popular classes.”