Cape Town 151113. CPUT students blocked the entrace during the protest. Picture Cindy Waxa.Reporter Argus
Cape Town 151113. CPUT students blocked the entrace during the protest. Picture Cindy Waxa.Reporter Argus

An open letter from CPUT students

By #FeesMustFall_CPUT Time of article published Nov 20, 2015

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To Our Parents

We, your children at CPUT, are faced with a tremendous difficulty in terms of completion of our studies and consequently obtaining our qualifications.

Reasons why we are not back in class since Friday, November 13?

* The council (highest decision-making body of CPUT) took a decision on October 30 to clear our debts, to allow us to continue our studies without the concern of becoming financially excluded because we can’t afford to pay our fees. At CPUT, you suffer and become a victim of the following:

* You do not get your final results which are needed in order to apply for a job.

* You do not get to register the next year unless your debt is fully cleared – even if it’s R100 000, you still need to pay.

* NSFAS does not cover carry-over debt even though the fund refused to pay for the previous year’s study.

* When you graduate with debt, you do not obtain your certificate and academic records to prove that you are qualified.

It becomes to impossible to find a job to pay off your your loans.

* Do you know that there are students who have just one or two outstanding modules to complete their qualifications? But because they have debt, the university refuses to allow them to register for these modules to complete their studies.

* The council also took a decision that all CPUT students must register for free in 2015 for the 2016 academic year. This has to be done after the publication of results, which means the “lapse of the 2015 registration”.

The registration fee at CPUT is R3 500, plus R1 500 residence deposit. When combined it is R5 000.

We will not remind you of the trouble students have to go through to raise this money, but we will share with you what happens when you get to CPUT and you do not have the registration fee.

* Normally, the most vulnerable are female students who try all possible things to raise the money in a big city like Cape Town. The most extreme practice that we know about is sleeping with old opportunistic men in return for the R5 000.

* The guys mostly resort to theft and sale of illegal substances with the express purpose of getting registered.

We should hope that you now understand why we say that the decisions or resolutions of council must be implemented. We simply want to avoid the above plight and predicaments.

Why the continued protests and unrest at our university? (a brief perspective)

* The council took this decision on October 30 with the undertaking from the university that implementation would be in two weeks: the first week to investigate thoroughly and accurately the number and cost implications, the second to implement.

* Remember, the council does not run the operations of CPUT, they take a decision and the executive management, through the VC, must implement.

* The executive management has shown tremendous resistance in implementing the resolutions of council, hence the continued protests.

* The VC has failed to oversee the implementation of the resolution of council which alone constitutes insubordination.

* To give effect to his defiance of council resolutions, which he is part of, the VC went on national television and said that the university could not be clear debts, otherwise it would not be able to function – again contradicting himself because earlier, he released a statement saying management was busy clearing the debts of students. And an amount of R111 million had already been cleared.

* The clearance he was talking about was titled in “Un Official Fee Statement” and at the bottom of each of these statements it read: “Balance transferred to provisional doubtful debt”.

And fortunately our accounting students were able to confirm to us that this clearance was fake and could not be trusted.

Ultimately we were all vindicated when the VC said “clearing debts will make the university unsustainable”. So, we ask, which debts did he claim were cleared in the first place?

* After the executive management failed to fully implement, and deceive us, we again had to raise our voice collectively higher.

* The university then started to depict us as hooligans; they started to victimise and frustrate us, hence the arrests, the interdict to prevent us from not being anywhere near CPUT premises, the suspension of all activities and eventually the eviction instruction.

* This is the reality at CPUT; the university is trying so hard to get us out of CPUT because they want to reverse the decision of council.

They are so committed and determined to pushing us into a corner and provoking us so that we retaliate by using physical force so as to vindicate them.

It simply means they will be justified when they say all the decisions and resolutions of council should be reversed because the students damaged university property beyond repair and the money that they were to use to clear our debts will now be used to repair the damages.

Their determination has since seen them using all the tricks in the book, including hiring third-force agents to be amongst us as students and burn property, vandalise and harass other students – all in the name of revolution. Well, we have intercepted that because we are wise, we will not compromise our struggle for free quality education in our lifetime.

We condemn all acts of violence, including the lies of a bombed ATM.

As CPUT students, we are disciplined and not accomplices to these acts, we understand that this picture is being painted so as to render us criminals and ultimately that we must face the full might of the law.

Lack of parental guidance and sympathy, lack of leadership and selfishness of the VC

To really show that the VC and his team do not have the best interests of students at heart and they do not really care about us, they issued an instruction of eviction.

This eviction was not lawful, the high court said.

How do you expect me to just leave for Limpopo, Qoboqobo, Matatiele, Nigeria, Germany, Nkandla, the Free State and Pretoria without proper arrangements?

How do you expect 32 000 students to leave CPUT in 48 hours? Fifty percent of that number are from outside the Western Cape.

The executive management is being selfish and arrogant.

Now, again, they are saying students must write exams on Monday November 23, which means students will have to travel back to cape town. Really now?

The only obsession the VC has is the transport tender.

All other things are minor issues because, even in the face of a revolution and with all university activities suspended, the FinCom still set and deliberated upon recommendations of a new transport tender amounting to millions of rands, but students declared the end of outsourcing.

We want to register to our parents, that the CPUT executive management is the cause of these continued protests and all we want, as your children, is for management to implement council resolutions.

The VC must also resign because he has failed the university and defied council.

All students that were interdicted should come back on to the university premises, and all students who fell prey to the eviction scandal should be transported back to the university by the university.

Thank you for taking your precious time to read this letter, Your support is important and necessary at this level.

We are frustrated, vulnerable, emotional and injured – please intervene as CPUT is a public university.

We have publicly declared a ceasefire, and continue to safeguard our property. We are for peace and tranquillity, we are your children and you are our parents.

#FeesMustFall_CPUT

* The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Times

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