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MT Steyn: EFF’s student representative council president destroys dream of reconciliation at UFS

The message that Sonwabile Dwaba, newly-elected SRC president (Student Representative Council) of the University of the Free State (UFS) and EFF representative, conveyed loud and clear on Thursday is that white students and their history are not welcome on campus.

The FF Plus will request a meeting with the rector of UFS to discuss the intolerance exhibited by the current student leadership.

Dwaba requested students to help him "make Steyn fall" in reference to the statue of former President MT Steyn.

The UFS's dreams of reconciliation and equal opportunities for all have been shattered by these statements by the newly-elected SRC president. The undertone of Dwaba's speech was intolerance, hate, envy, misconception, racism and a lack of knowledge and it may very well be an indication of what the upcoming term will entail.

The same MT Steyn whose statue now apparently offends certain students had the vision of a higher education institution in the Free State, namely UFS, where these very same students now have the opportunity to obtain a higher education.

Being a student leader, Dwaba should know better. He should at the very least verify the facts before he makes rash, inflammatory and intolerant statements. His poor leadership does not bode well for the SRC's upcoming term.

His hateful statements undermined the public participation process that was initiated to determine the future of the statue on campus. The students who submitted oral presentations were mainly in favour of retaining the statue. It is these presentations that must be taken into account and not the opinions of the students who protested outside the venue as these students did not even participate in the discourse.

South Africans need to take note of the mini election that took place on the UFS campus. The EFF exhibits intolerance and racism wherever they are involved. Such racial hate must not be tolerated.

Voters, and particularly the youth who are entitled to vote, must not just stand by and allow their history and future to be expropriated.

All students should feel equally welcome on campus. Everyone's history is important and must be preserved. Statues ought to be added and not taken down because a culture of hate and intolerance is established by leadership.

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