Malasa questions continued SINU student protest, Ngati refuses to stop
BY LYNTON AARON FILIA
SERIOUS questions are being asked regarding the reasons for SINU students to continue with their strike, now that pro-vice chancellor (corporate) Donald Malasa has finished his term.
The students, under the leadership of their student association (SINUSA) president Reginald Ngati, yesterday began their boycotting of classes and staging of peaceful protests, demanding the removal of Mr Malasa.
However, Malasa’s contract had already expired on March 31 – he did not renew it.
Malasa yesterday raised his doubts over the motives behind the strike, saying he had already vacated office during SINUSA’s 14-day strike notice, thus there is no reason why Ngati should go ahead with the strike.
“My contract with SINU lapsed on March 31, students and SINUSA should not go on strike, what is the use of taking the strike now?
“The student body wanted to strike often, what is their reason of striking because I’m no longer in office?
“It indicates they have other reasons behind their strike but I think the main reason is because I null-and-void their election.”
He also explained that he had only returned to office as a care-taker, as requested by the SINU council, while SINU finds a replacement.
Malasa said he had also informed the students and the SINUSA executive via letter of when his contract would lapse. He also told them his intention not to renew his contract.
“My decision not to re-new my contract is before the strike notice, and I discuss with my family that I will finish from SINU as it’s enough now because it’s been 24 years with government, 7 years with SICHE and 5 years with SINU.”
Regarding the students’ call for a representative in the SINU council, Malasa said they already have one – Mr Hudson Maenu, who is the supervisor for SINUSA.
Meanwhile, SINUSA president Ngati insists that Malasa’s removal from office was only one of their demands.
“Now that pro vice chancellor (corporate) move out from his position, we say it is not the only issue, we say he is one of the issues.”
He explains that there are a lot of other issues aside from the pro-vice chancellor which students feel are affecting their studies in SINU.
Ngati said to call of the strike now would mean the other issues affecting students will not be solved, hence they will press on with their strike.
“We are still available and open minded for further dialogue with authorities,” Ngati said.
It is understood that apart from the call for Malasa’s removal, other reasons for the student strike are; for SINUSA to be totally independent from the institution regarding decision making; students’ welfare issue such as internet, printing services, bedding in the hostels, improved diet in the mess menu, and improvement to the school’s clinic.