#FeesMustFall: University intedicts a violation of student rights

As a response to the on-going protests against fees increases, Stellenbosch University and the University of Cape Town have filed interdicts that effectively supress the rights of students to protest and quell their freedom of assembly. The FXI condemns the universities’ reaction as a violation of the student rights – a desperate attempt to silence students.

The interdicts have not resulted in any alleviation of the crisis, but have rather allowed an already volatile situation to exacerbate, while criminalising the legitimate exercise of the students’ right to protest. Students have been arrested and detained, detracting from any constructive processes aimed at resolving the grievances. The universities should let students exercise their right to protest, as long as it is carried within legal limits.

Inquiries to: Siphiwe Segodi, Project Officer, and Nomagugu Nyathi, Research Officer, Freedom of Expression Institute, 1st Floor, 1 Richmond Forum, 18 Cedar Avenue, Richmond, 2092, Johannesburg Tel: +27-11-482-1913, Email: organiser2@fxi.org.za

Why Equality Courts are not working as they should

FXI’s Mduduzi Mtshweni (legal assistant) and Nomagugu Nyathi (research officer) attended a workshop at the Legal Resources Centre on how to assist victims of discrimination prepare and present a claim in the South African Equality Courts.

These are the lessons they learned from the workshop

  • Accessing Equality Courts is very difficult for most people because they do not know about them.
  • As a result, they are underutilised.
  • Properly utilised, they will help in achieving equality.
  • Approaching the courts is much simpler compared to regular courts.
  • Because of this, and the way the function, they are a unique legal instrument that should be capitalised on.
  • Lawyers and other professionals should be encouraged to approach and use Equality Courts so as to build precedence in the courts.
  • Magistrates tend to shop for forums – by deciding in which forum the matter is to be heard e.g. magistrates courts, Equality Courts or other specialized courts; magistrates have a tendency of not wanting to deal with constitutional issues or issues which do not have a clear precedent – and side step attending to Equality Court matters thus reducing their inefficiency.
  • A handbook was distributed to show the processes of approaching the court and how the court functions. The handbook is quite comprehensive.