Social injustices not reflected

28 July 2009

Receive warm greetings from me personally and on behalf of students organized under the banner of SASCO at UCT and Western Cape.

Firstly, let me relay my disappointment at how the newsroom and publications of the University of Cape Town has been conducted in the last few years. Here, without fail the newsroom (responsible for daily news and Monday Paper) has been deliberately choosing "convenient" stories to publish and neglect others, even though they carry serious implications. These convenient stories have one thing in common, ie they reflect a picture perfect UCT, which should be seen as just a great university with no internal injustices and problems. Your department has been perpetuating a false foundation that UCT is a perfect world-class university, through confining our view to worthless stories.

The university mission statement reads "Our mission is to be an outstanding teaching and research university, educating for life and addressing the challenges facing our society." To the contrary, the narrow selection of news or stories by your department defeats the very purpose and rationale of our mission statement. It takes no genius to observe that your news is out of touch with the social challenges of UCT and the society it exists within.

One is not sure whether the neglect of some crucial and important events, particularly in relation to lack of transformation which is prevalent at UCT and pass without them being reported, is deliberate or not. As the university community we are lucky to know of UCT issues from external media, particularly those of high interest such as the recent Ngobeni case, where he clearly states that he has been purged by his colleagues and those in higher offices. One can cite a lot of other examples, where your news reporting fundamentally neglects UCT injustices.

It is clear that at UCT, there exists a fallacy whereby if a person or organization publicly criticizes UCT; then such a person is unfortunately interpreted as relaying a "bad image" about the institution to the outside world. Therefore, to conform to the stereotype we must fantasise to be living in perfect and great UCT. These tendencies are held by a group of UCT scholars, whose underlying principles and acts are divergent to genuine transformation.

I am writing this letter, with the purpose to urge you and your sector to stop hiding social injustices (particularly towards black and poor students and workers) which are taking place at UCT, among other evils.

We view your type of news as systematically demobilising affected stakeholders, where their focus is deviated from the prominent issues, which are affecting them, as this has in turn compromised the very objectives of transformation at UCT.

I hope that this letter will be received with the spirit with which it was written.

Aphiwe Bewana
Provincial Chairperson of South African Student Congress (SASCO)

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