Student bodies clash over strike

RIVAL student bodies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal are divided over this weeks' protest action.

Yesterday the IFP-aligned South African Democratic Student Movement (Sadesmo) condemned the students' protest action at two of the university's campuses this week.

Sadesmo contends that the protest action is part of the "power struggle within the South African Student Congress (Sasco)" and not necessarily about the students' grievances.

Sadesmo chairperson Sibonelo Majola said the issues that the students' representatives raised during the strike were issues that were tabled before the SRC but were never discussed at meetings.

"We are deeply concerned that the main focus and intention of the strike is not based on students' issues, but driven by a power battle within Sasco's ranks," Majola said.

He admitted that it was a concern that some students were still in need of financial support but said the SRC leadership should come up with ways to resolve such issues without interfering with academic programmes.

SRC president Thanduxolo Sabelo, who is also Sasco president, denied that the strike was part of any power battle.

He isaid that if the students' grievances were not relevant, the institution's management would have not promised to look into the issues.

"We made it clear it was not our aim to disrupt learning and so far we have not received any report of academic facilities being closed down due to the strike," Sabelo said.

On Tuesday the SRC leadership at the university suspended the strike but gave management an ultimatum stipulating today as final deadline for resolving some of the students' grievances.

Sabelo warned that if management failed to address the grievances by end of today all five UKZN campuses would be on strike from Monday.