26 February 2016 – Student unrest at universities has reached untenable levels. The tensions have led to violence as well as a number of assaults. We are at a crisis point and we have to act now before lives are lost.
As a result, a group of likeminded active citizens have joined forces to provide independent mediation, conflict resolution and facilitation services to the universities and the student movements who request it. The help will be provided under the name #AccessThuto, meaning access education.
#AccessThuto is led by former Constitutional Court Judge Yvonne Mokgoro, Sello Hatang CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Kingsley Makhubela CEO of Brand South Africa and Neeshan Balton CEO of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation.
#AccessThuto will seek to listen to students, academic staff and management at universities to help to neutralise the conflict current experienced at universities. #AccessThuto will use a network of organisations and individuals to provide professional, independent and non-partisan help to the university community as they grapple with difficult issues of transformation.
#AccessThuto will work with all stakeholders, including students, families, and the university management and government.
#AccessThuto has identified a number of pressing issues like managing violence, leadership, transformation, the role of parents, peace building and justice and the management of dialogue. These fundamental issues must be addressed in order to find sustainable solutions to the ongoing crisis.
“We have now reached a crisis point that compels me to act to help neutralise what has happened at universities before lives are lost. I urge students, management and rectors to show restraint and use our services to curb the levels of conflict. We have a long history of constructive dialogue which I am committed to help facilitate before it’s too late,” said Judge Yvonne Mokgoro.
#AccessThuto will not attempt to replace current institutional measures but will provide additional support services and a degree of separation, in particular when there is a deadlock between parties.
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