Po­lice see red af­ter Tuks protest

CityPress - - News - SETUMO STONE setumo.stone@city­press.co.za

A group of black stu­dents from the Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria spent at least 17 hours in po­lice cells on Fri­day af­ter their protest against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of in­struc­tion shut down the cam­puses.

Brook­lyn po­lice spokesper­son Cap­tain Tsek­iso Mo­fo­keng said the 27 stu­dents were re­leased early yes­ter­day. They paid R500 bail each and were in­structed to ap­pear in court to­mor­row.

He said po­lice were called when a protest against lan­guage pol­icy at the univer­sity turned vi­o­lent.

“Things went out of con­trol. Stu­dents ... did not want the pres­ence of the po­lice, who were do­ing their job. Once it be­came vi­o­lent and prop­erty was dam­aged, we then made ar­rests.”

On Thurs­day, a smaller po­lice con­tin­gent as­sisted the univer­sity’s pri­vate se­cu­rity guards af­ter a stand­off on cam­pus in­volv­ing stu­dent mem­bers of AfriForum Youth and the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers (EFF) Stu­dents’ Com­mand.

Univer­sity spokesper­son Anna-Retha Bouwer said: “There was an al­ter­ca­tion af­ter a meet­ing that was sup­posed to hap­pen re­gard­ing feed­back on the lan­guage pol­icy process. Then there were threats of dis­rup­tion of aca­demic ac­tiv­i­ties and of vi­o­lence. That led to the de­ci­sion to close the two cam­puses.”

EFF leader Ka­belo Mahlobog­wane said his or­gan­i­sa­tion and two oth­ers were at the venue fol­low­ing an in­vi­ta­tion from man­age­ment re­gard­ing feed­back on the lan­guage pol­icy dis­cus­sions. He said the in­vite was just for them and AfriForum, and its sup­port­ers were not in­vited.

“But be­cause AfriForum had been march­ing on cam­pus, they de­cided they were go­ing to at­tend the meet­ing and they oc­cu­pied the venue. We tried to gain ac­cess and they at­tacked us. The man­age­ment did not pro­tect us,” Mahlobog­wane said.

Po­lice al­legedly had a list of peo­ple to ar­rest, he said. “Peo­ple were ar­rested while sit­ting down. If you [were wear­ing] any­thing red, you were ar­rested.”

He said he was warned by a po­lice­man that he was on the list and he went into hid­ing in a safe house un­til the EFF lawyers ar­rived.

AfriForum Youth’s Morne Mostert de­nied that the Afrikaans stu­dents had at­tacked the EFF on cam­pus. He said that on Thurs­day AfriForum was protest­ing and hand­ing over a mem­o­ran­dum to man­age­ment in an­other venue.

“We heard re­ports of the EFF go­ing around and that in­di­vid­u­als were be­ing at­tacked, and that is why we went out to as­sist stu­dents,” he said.

Mostert said he was in­vited to the planned meet­ing on lan­guage pol­icy. “The in­vi­ta­tion was sent out, but there was no de­scrip­tion on what pre­cisely the meet­ing was go­ing to be about. When I ar­rived, there were lots of Afrikaans-speak­ing in­di­vid­u­als who wanted to have their say on the lan­guage pol­icy.”

Mostert said the meet­ing did not take place be­cause the venue was too small.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.