North West University's Management Called Into Question

North West University's Student Representative Council is calling for compliance with COVID-19 lockdown regulations and to have action taken against those who go against the regulations. The University's management is now being called into question.

The Student Representative Council (SRC) at North West University's Mahikeng Campus is calling for disciplinary action to be taken against those individuals who are failing to comply with lockdown regulations.

This call comes after a video emerged on Monday showing students from the Agricultural Science faculty were overloaded in a school bus which was transporting them to an off-campus location to conduct practicals.

The video was posted through SRC social media and it was through their intervention that alternative transport was offered to students who put themselves at risk for Covid with no social distancing having been observed.

SRC Legal Affairs Officer, Trevor Tshabalala, said, "SRC received a phone call saying there's been an issue of an overcrowding of a bus. Now, we have to comply with current Covid regulations so the overcrowding is a big no no".

They then found with further investigation, that overcrowding was indeed taking place as students were being taken to a farm to do practicals. 

"The SRC Deputy President then intervened by organising alternative transport", said Tshabalala.

He also said that only through them intervening was alternative transport arranged and that this shows that this is a common occurrence. Tshabalala then went on to say, "Had we not intervened, such would have carried on".

This view from the SRC is however contrary to a statement from the University which insists that students were ferried on two trips to the off site location and that it was in fact the students who insisted that they be ferried in one group which was overcrowded in the bus.

"That can't be possible ... first things first, the people who actually reported this particular incident were the students themselves. Now, if you're saying that the students were the ones who insisted on them being overcrowded on one bus, why would they then want to implicate themselves by taking videos and calling for it's own intervention", responded Tshabalala.

He then says that students clearly wanted their safety to be prioritised and that "even if the students had insisted ... why would the University management allow such an infringement of rules? It means that they can do something illegal which is not allowed"

Tshabala said, "As the SRC, we would like strict disciplinary action to be enforced on people who are responsible for such an act because they are not only endangered the lives of our fellow students but the lives of everyone who comes on to contact with our campus."

The University's SRC has two demands:

  • For two modes of transport to be made available which will transport students
  • For strict disciplinary measures to be imparted on those who are responsible for such an occurrence 

The SRC says they are trying to control the movement of people and this incident puts staff and students at risk.

According to the University, over 90 staff, students and part-time contract workers have tested positive for Covid-19.

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