Price ‘punched’ while ad­dress­ing stu­dents

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - JAN CRONJE

UCT PLANS to iden­tify the pro­tester, pos­si­bly a stu­dent, who “threw two punches to the body” of Vice-Chan­cel­lor Max Price yes­ter­day af­ter­noon, and lodge a com­plaint with the po­lice.

Po­lice had to in­ter­vene to es­cort Price away from a group of pro­test­ers out­side the Brem­ner Build­ing on lower cam­pus just be­fore 4pm. Footage shows Price and two other mem­bers of the UCT ex­ec­u­tive sur­rounded by a group of pro­test­ers.

The vice-chan­cel­lor, who was on his way to a coun­cil meet­ing ac­com­pa­nied by deputy vice-chan­cel­lors Pro­fes­sor An­war Mall and Pro­fes­sor Fran­cis Petersen, first re­sponded to ques­tions over a loud­speaker about ar­rested UCT stu­dent ac­tivist Masixole Mlandu.

A sec­ond video showed pro­test­ers sur­round­ing Price, jostling and try­ing to talk to him, while oth­ers stood back and filmed the events with their cell­phones.

Po­lice then in­ter­vened to es­cort Price away, but a scuf­fle en­sued as pro­test­ers, po­lice, Price and his col­leagues were pushed back and forth. As things be­came more heated, there were shouts of “hey voet­sek” and then the sound of stun grenades and smoke-filled scenes. UCT spokes­woman Gerda

TIDES High to­day .......... 2.20am 2.37pm To­mor­row ........... 3.01am 3.18pm Low to­day........... 8.25am 8.52pm To­mor­row ........... 9.05am 9.33pm Spring tides ....................... Oct 16 Oct 30 Oct 22 Nov 7 Neap Tides SUN/MOON Sun­rise to­day Sun­set to­day Moon rises to­day Moon sets to­mor­row 6.05am 6.58pm 6.19pm 5.38am Kruger said af­ter Price en­gaged with the group, he ex­plained he had to leave for the coun­cil meet­ing, which started at 4pm.

“As Dr Price at­tempted to walk away a small group of pro­test­ers started pulling and push­ing at his body and re­fused to let him leave,” she said.

“Dr Price tried to ig­nore it and walked away from the group­ing, when one par­tic­u­lar in­di­vid­ual threw two punches.”

Kruger called the be­hav­iour “ut­terly un­ac­cept­able and un­law­ful”.

“In our view, what hap­pened to Dr Price con­sti­tutes as­sault,” she said.

Price did not re­ceive med­i­cal at­ten­tion and con­tin­ued straight to the coun­cil meet­ing.

Week­end Ar­gus’s at­tempts last night to con­tact three peo­ple in­volved in the cam­paign for free ed­u­ca­tion and de­coloni­sa­tion at UCT failed.

Kruger said the protest­ing group left the Brem­ner Build­ing af­ter the in­ci­dent and later “dis­rupted a soc­cer match tak­ing place on a field nearby”.

She said the univer­sity recog­nised that “not all pro­test­ers be­haved in this way”.

“Those who do are show­ing a disturbing dis­re­gard for the law.”

It is un­der­stood that re­open­ing the univer­sity was set be dis­cussed at the coun­cil meet­ing yes­ter­day.

The al­leged as­sault on Vice Chan­cel­lor Max Price pro­voked strong re­ac­tion on so­cial me­dia.

“Can this please be a tip­ping point? No more ne­go­ti­at­ing with those who dis­play crim­i­nal be­hav­iour. Open UCT! Enough is enough,” tweeted com­men­ta­tor Ju­dith Fe­bru­ary. But not all tweets were sup­port­ive. “What­ever hap­pened to Max Price would not have hap­pened had he dropped all cases against stu­dents. “It’s all on him,” an­other user tweeted. An­other post­ing on so­cial me­dia asked for more ev­i­dence of the as­sault, say­ing the video was not clear.

“We want ev­i­dence please, be­cause Max Price be­came ag­gres­sive,” tweeted user @SNK_om­nyama.

jan.cronje@inl.co.za

A still from a video of UCT Vice-Chan­cel­lor Max Price sur­rounded by pro­test­ers.

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