MANZINI: Three students who were suspended and later expelled from the Southern Africa Nazarene University (SANU) for participating in an illegal strike action feel the university is hiding behind the COVID 19 regulations to deny them an appeal hearing.
Tholumuzi Simelane the university\'s Students Representative Council\'s ( SRC) President, Colani Maseko a SRC member and Sibusiso Nkwanyane who allegedly participated in an illegal strike action in November 2019 have since been expelled from the University and are demanding an appeal hearing.
Simelane and Maseko were facing three charges of misconduct in that in on November 2019 they organised an illegal students body meeting that led to an illegal strike action. During the strike action it is alleged they damaged the university\'s property. The bone of contention was over unpaid allowances.
Colani Maseko was charged and found guilty of breaking a window and was expelled from the university for a period of 5 academic years. Tholumuzi Simelane on the other hand was found guilty of carrying a sling which the university described as a dangerous weapon and was expelled for a period of three academic years. Sibusiso Nkwanyane was found guilty of carrying dangerous chemical that were allegedly used to spray on students and staff during the protest, he was expelled from the university indefinitely.
They were expelled from the university on the 9thMarch 2020 after a disciplinary hearing, however, they filed an appeal through their legal representatives from Xaba attorneys on the 16th March 2020 citing lack of evidence. The university responded on the 22ndof April 2020 advising the students that the appeal would be held virtually via zoom since the University was closed due to the state of emergency that was announced by the Prime Minister and the COVID 19 regulations prohibited travel.
Colani Maseko one of the expelled students and also the Secretary General for the SRC views this as the university\'s tactic to denying them a fair hearing.
\"We wrote to the University through our lawyers on 12thMay 2020 objecting to the virtual hearing that the university had proposed because of COVID 19 regulations permitting gatherings of up to 20 people. On 18 May 2020, the University responded that they will advise us of a tentative date for a zoom meeting but till today the date for the meeting has not been communicated to us, \"he said.
Petros Mavuso the University\'s Marketing Manager when reached for comments by this publication shifted the blame to the students for the delay of the hearing.
“The students received their expulsion letters on the 9thMarch 2020 but only filed for an appeal on the 17thMarch 2020 which was on the day the university was closed due to the pandemic. We had anticipated that they would respond instantly but it took them a whole week to respond, the university was ready to treat the matter with the urgency it deserves. However, the matter will be soon finalized since schools and tertiary institutions are opening in July”, he said.
Southern African Nazarene University