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Wits vice-chancellor Adam Habib on Friday night pleaded with students who still plan to protest on Monday to listen to the poor black students they say they represent.

“These poor black students are saying that they understand the fight but they are not prepared to sacrifice the 2016 academic year.

Wits students react to the #Fees2017 announcement. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha. Credit: INDEPENDENT MEDIA

“The majority of students at Wits are black. The argument of white privilege and that it’s the white students who want to get back to their studies just doesn’t fly any more.”

Habib says his message to the concerned parents who want to see their children finish their studies this year is that he understands their pain and anxiety, but his main focus has always been to keep his students safe.

He says although he did not personally have security around him, he found it outrageous that students decided to march to his home this week.

“That was a direct threat to my family. It went against everything that is decent. Even at the height of apartheid, we knew what our fight was and we knew what our boundaries were.”

Earlier, the majority of students and staff at Wits wanted lectures to resume next week despite violent protests against tuition fee hikes, according to a poll released by the institution.

The students and staff were asked: “Should Wits open on Monday, October 3, subject to appropriate security protocols being in place?”

On Friday, 77 percent of students indicated they wanted to return to class on Monday, while 23 percent voted against this.

The process was conducted by an auditing company after the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) could not assist the university.

Students were sent a text and asked to respond with either a “yes” or a “no” while staff received instructions on how to log in and vote.

An urgent court bid by Wits student leaders on Wednesday to halt the poll failed. The court ruled against the students and indicated that everyone’s voices needed to be heard.

University campuses have been rocked by protests since last year as students continue to demand free higher education. An announcement by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande that fee increases for 2017 would be capped at 8 percent brought another wave of protests as students demanded no fee increases until free higher education was implemented.

Lectures have been suspended at most universities as the unrest continued.

Meanwhile, the government has noted what it describes as a third force trying to destabilise universities. State Security Minister David Mahlobo said there had been attempts to hijack student protests as well as to delegitimise the work done by state security agencies.

Mahlobo said intelligence agencies were well aware of activities during these protests and knew who the agitators were.

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko urged communities and parents to work with the government to prevent students engaging in acts of criminality.

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Cape Town – Priests of the diocese of Saldanha Bay, which stretches as close to Cape Town as Pinelands, have declared they will not abide by a decision by the Anglican Church of Southern Africa not to allow “prayers of blessing” for people in same-sex civil unions.

The vote was taken by the church’s provincial synod, its top legislative body, on a proposal by the diocese of Saldanha Bay, which stretches from the northern suburbs of Cape Town to the Namibian border.

File picture. Credit: INDEPENDENT MEDIA

The initial motion before the synod also proposed clergy who identify as LGBTI and are in legal same-sex civil unions be licensed to minister in parishes. But the proposers withdrew this section before Friday’s debate began.

Opposition to the proposal was strongest among bishops, with 16 voting against and six in favour. Sixty-two percent of lay representatives to the synod voted against the proposal (41-25), along with 55 percent of clergy (42-34).

Debate over same-sex marriage has divided the Anglican Church around the world and in South Africa the high-profile union of Rev Canon Mpho Tutu and Marceline van Furth brought matters to a head.

In May, Tutu-Van Furth, daughter of Leah and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, revealed her licence to preach was being revoked because she married a woman, so she had instead decided to quit rather than force Bishop Raphael Hess, bishop of the diocese of Saldanha Bay, to revoke her licence. While same-sex marriage was legalised in South Africa in 2006, the South African Anglican law on marriage states: “Holy matrimony is the lifelong and exclusive union between one man and one woman.”

When news of the decision broke yesterday, a disappointed Rev Canon Chris Ahrends, rector of the parish of St Margaret in Parow, declared “the church has let Cape Town and the world down”.

“I’m gutted,” he said, adding that while he accepted the church’s decision, he would not abide by it. “If a married couple, who happen to be the same sex, come to me and ask me to bless their marriage, I will do so,” Ahrends said.

“So if that means going against the church’s rules, then that is exactly what I am prepared to do because this is a matter of justice.”

When Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba announced the results, according to a statement issued by the Anglican media office, he said: “The pain on both sides is palpable and tangible and the image of a double-edged sword pierces me.”

He said “all is not lost”, saying the issue would hopefully be raised again at the next provincial synod in 2019. The church could also consider raising it at the next worldwide meeting of Anglican bishops in 2020.

Ahrends said: “The church missed a great opportunity here.”

Bishop Hess could not be contacted for comment at the time of publication.

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University of Cape Town council chairperson Sipho Pityana has urged protesting students to allow the university to reopen on Monday.

Pityana supported the call for education as a “justiciable socioeconomic right” on Friday, but warned students against wasting their chance to improve their lives.

“I applaud our youth, and students in particular, for reminding us and reminding society in general that our constitutional promise cannot be negotiated away,” he said in a statement on the university’s website.

“Unlike in the past, no one should risk not completing their education in order to be heard or realise a just and noble cause, as we are talking about. No one should risk criminalisation by engaging in acts of arson, damage to property and violence in exchanges with each other.”

He said institutions of higher learning were their institutions, and their inheritance, not those of the colonisers.

“They are ours – we should protect them, defend them and jealously guard them in every legal way we can.”

He said there was no justification for compromising the career prospects of students due to start jobs in 2017.

“It cannot be right that any of our students should lose a year of studying.”

The university has been on academic shutdown for the past two weeks, with all classes suspended until Monday.

Vice Chancellor Max Price on Wednesday said faculty polls showed approximately 80-90% of the student body wanted to return to class next week.

He also said the academic year could still be completed if classes resumed on either October 3 or 10, but that it would be disastrous if classes remained suspended beyond that.

Source: News24

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Johannesburg – A mother and her son were wounded during an alleged argument with a neighbour in Olivedale, Johannesburg, on Friday night, Gauteng paramedics said.

An off duty ER24 paramedic in the vicinity responded to a complex near Pritchard Road in Olivedale at about 8.30pm after calls for an ambulance were received over ER24’s communications channel, ER24 spokesman Werner Vermaak said on Saturday.

“Upon arrival he found that an 18-year-old [man] and his mother sustained gunshot wounds. The 18-year-old sustained a gunshot wound to his face and his mother sustained a gunshot wound to her hand. Both of them were in a serious condition at the time.”

ER24’s ambulance and another private service arrived on the scene to assist with treatment. Police and private security companies also arrived on the scene.

The circumstances surrounding the incident were not yet known. However, the mother explained that they were apparently shot by a neighbour during an altercation. Police would investigate the matter, Vermaak said.

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Durban – Six students and one journalist were arrested during protests that broke out on the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Westville campus on Friday.

Details of the arrests were unclear, but police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane confirmed that six students had been arrested on charges of participating in an illegal public gathering and public violence.

Picture: Shan Pillay. Credit: INDEPENDENT MEDIA

Zwane said that the six students were expected to appear in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

Apart from the six students that had been arrested, News24 journalist Kaveel Singh was also arrested and was taken to the Westville police station.

“I’ve been detained by [the] police with a student and am being taken to a police station @News24 #FeesMustFall #UKZN,” he said on social media platform Twitter.

He was later released without being charged after a company lawyer intervened.

It is understood that police fired stun grenades and began dispersing the crowds that had gathered.

The protesting students earlier moved from lecture hall to lecture hall removing students from classes.

Despite the protests against university fees, it is understood that the university has remained open.

It was also not clear what charges the student was facing, but there is a Durban High Court interdict against protests.

University spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said that the academic programme was going ahead as normal at most campuses. He said there were no reports of disturbances at Howard College, Edgewood, Pietermaritzburg and Medical School campuses.

“The Westville campus experienced sporadic protest action throughout the day. Some lectures were disrupted and three scheduled tests were cancelled. A number of the students engaging in illegal acts of violence have been apprehended.”

He made no reference to the arrested journalist, but also pointed to the fact that a High Court Interdict was in place.

The University has a High Court interdict in place protecting it against unlawful protests, disruptive gatherings, demonstrations, mass action, intimidation or any violent act to persons or property at the entrance and premises of University campuses.

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The arrested students as well as their supporters in the public gallery broke down in tears when Magistrate Mamsy Boikhutso ruled that the students remain in custody until their next court appearance in 10 days.

In opposing the students’ bail application state prosecutor advocate Patti Davids said the state was afraid the accused may pose a risk to university property and student safety.

“Since the accused have been in custody there has been peace at the university and lectures are proceeding as normal. If the accused are released on bail (and further violence ensues) there is a significant possibility that the institution may have to shut-down and this will impact negatively on other students as they may risk losing the rest of the academic year,” said Davids.

Davids told the court that the state is in possession of video footage showing all eleven accused throwing stones and bottles at police and vehicles.

However the defence lawyer Advocate Mazwi Dlamini said it was not in the interest of justice that the accused be kept in custody as they are students.

“The state does not have any proof that it was the accused that are damaging the university property. Keeping the accused in custody will be unconstitutional,” said Dlamini.

Magistrate Boikhutso adjourned the matter for consideration and returned with a ruling that all eleven students remain until she views the video footage. The matter was remanded until October 10, 2016.

However her decision to keep the students in custody evoked a wail of crying from the accused which quickly spreads to the students in the gallery.

Outside court the students vowed to take action against the ruling. The SRC president Sphelele Nguse who was also in tears after the ruling said it was unacceptable that the students be treated as criminals. He said the SRC would consult with the students on what further action would follow.

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Cape Town – A former model and UCT student who hit the headlines for urinating on a taxi driver from the balcony of the Tiger Tiger nightclub has been sentenced to a three-year wholly suspended sentence, on condition that he performs 200 hours of community service.

Magistrate Siviwe Yaki imposed the sentence on Friday after she found that imprisonment would do more harm than good for Djavan Arrigone, considering that he was still young and a first offender.

A court has ordered Djavan Arrigone, middle, to do 200 hours of community service after urinating on a taxi driver from the balcony of a nightclub. File picture: Kurt Engel. Credit: INDEPENDENT MEDIA

However, she made it clear to him that his confuct was “disgusting” and said she was saddened that the courts were still dealing with cases of racism involving South Africa’s youth.

The incident occurred in January 2014 when Arrigone and his friends were at the club at Stadium on Main in Claremont.

Taxi driver Michelle Puis Nomgcana was under the balcony in the Main Road waiting for passengers when he felt drops falling on him. He thought it was rain, but his companion told him that someone was urinating from the balcony.

During the trial Arrigone did not dispute he had urinated on Nomgcana, but denied acting intentionally.

He testified he was drunk and was not concerned about whether anyone was underneath the balcony when he decided to expose his genitals to patrons and urinate.

However, Yaki was not persuaded by Arrigone’s claims and pointed out that he continued urinating and laughed about it even after he had been alerted to the fact that he had hit Nomgcana.

He has to complete his community service at Nicro.

Both men have previously said that their lives have been irrevocably changed by the case.

Nomgcana said he had lost his ability to earn an income after the incident.

“The guys over at the taxi rank do not want me around them. I have been shamed like a pig. My children are starving now because I cannot generate income. This is not fair. It is, in fact, frustrating,” he told Cape Argus earlier this month.

Arrigone said he has suffered a drop in his grades and lost his high-paying job as a model with high-profile agency Boss.

Cape Argus and IOL

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