At the time of writing, the month-long crisis on our university campuses remains unresolved. The next few days will probably be critical in determining whether the universities concerned will reopen in time to allow students to complete the academic year. As hardly needs be stressed, this is a critical issue for our country. For our country to succeed, it is abundantly clear that all South Africans need access to higher education. For our own part, we strongly encourage dialogue between government, the universities and student representatives aimed at achieving an solution that takes into account the requirements and concerns of all stakeholders. Every effort must be made to reduce as much as possible the gaps between the various parties and to find a balance between what people want to see and what is practically achievable, in both the short and long term. These are troubled times, but we I feel there is sufficient resilience and goodwill to find a constructive way forward.
Since its initial conceptualisation in 1919, the historic Durban Jewish Club has been not only the centre of Jewish communal life in Durban, but a frequently used public space for the broader society. The building itself, "surrounded by bush, rippling dunes of corrugated white sand mingled with ochre earth", was officially opened on 4 May 1931. Since then, it has been host to generations of people, with a history that has witnessed wars and political unrest, conferences and public meetings and music and theatre performances.
“COSATU has got members here even on this campus; we can make sure that for that side it will be hell”
“COSATU is with you, we will do everything to make sure that whether its at Wits University, whether its at Orange Grove, anyone who does not support equality and dignity, who does not support the rights of other people must face the consequences even if it means that we will do something that may necessarily cause what is regarded as harm…”
Determining where the boundary lies between legitimate freedom of expression and prohibited ‘hate speech’ can never be an exact science. During the flurry of debate that took place around the controversial Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill earlier this year, this was something that came through especially strongly. Err too much on one side, and victims of genuinely hurtful and insulting verbal abuse are left without a remedy; err too much on the other, and a fundamental pillar of democracy is undermined.