Friday the 6th of August

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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Jesuit church no longer open for talks on South African university crisis

After chaos broke out in a Catholic church as it hosted a meeting to resolve a university crisis, South Africa’s Jesuits said the church would no longer be open for these talks.

The “safe and neutral space” of Holy Trinity Church in Johannesburg “has been violated by those who declared God’s house to be exclusively theirs,” Fr David Rowan, regional superior of the Jesuits in South Africa, said in a statement.

Adam Habib, vice chancellor and principal of the University of the Witwatersrand, slipped out of a back door after angry students objected to his presence at the meeting on 19th October.

Students in the church said Habib should have been arrested, instead of student activist Mcebo Dlamini, who faces charges of public violence, theft, assault and malicious damage to property.

The Jesuit statement said the dialogue at the church “was part of an ongoing attempt to find a peaceful solution to the current crisis at the university.”

Picture: School children walk past a line of police officers during protests against the cost of higher education in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 12th October. After chaos broke out in a Catholic church as it hosted a meeting to resolve a university crisis, South Africa’s Jesuits said the church would no longer be open for these talks. (CNS photo/Kim Ludbrook, EPA).