CKNJ PRESS RELEASE
Thursday 12th February
Media Statement from the Council of KwaZulu-Natal Jewry regarding the DUT SRC/ PYA. The Council of KwaZulu-Natal Jewry is appalled by the demand from the Student Representative Council (SRC) and Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) of the Durban University of Technology (DUT) for Jewish students at the institution to deregister. The demand was made in a memorandum handed to Vice Chancellor of DUT Professor Bawa on Tuesday February 10th. Secretary of the SRC, Mqondisi Duma, is quoted as saying, “As the SRC, we had a meeting and analysed international politics. We took the decision that Jewish students, especially those who do not support the Palestinian struggle, should deregister”.
The call is blatantly antisemitic and the singling out of any student for discrimination based solely on their religion, race, gender or political affiliation goes against the values and principles of a democratic South Africa proudly enshrined in our Constitution. It is especially saddening that such a call could be made by youth organizations in our country which has overcome a dark history of racial segregation and oppression and sacrificed much to achieve freedom, equality and human rights for all.
The SRC’s statement today has also been brought to our attention and only serves to further exacerbate and reinforce this hateful situation.
We wish to commend Vice Chancellor Professor Ahmed Bawa on his swift and strong condemnation of the student formations’ demand, which he called, “totally preposterous, unjust, unfair, unreasonable and unconstitutional”, and his commitment that DUT, “does not discriminate against any person based on their race, religion, colour, ethnicity, sexual orientation or political affiliation”. We welcome the opportunity to work with Professor Bawa alongside other civil society organizations in their programme of engagement with the SRC and PYA to address the obvious issues of intolerance and lack of social cohesion that have emerged on DUT campus.
The Council of KwaZulu-Natal Jewry reserves the right to take this matter further.