Campus grinds to a halt

2016-05-18 06:00
STUDENTS of the University of the Free State’s Qwaqwa Campus demonstrating during the recent unrest. The campus has been closed until further notice.  Photo: Tladi Moloi

STUDENTS of the University of the Free State’s Qwaqwa Campus demonstrating during the recent unrest. The campus has been closed until further notice. Photo: Tladi Moloi

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PHUTHADITJHABA. – The University of the Free State’s Qwaqwa Campus has been closed until further notice as a result of the recent unrest at the university.

The campus was closed on Thursday, 12 May. The management of the university has not yet announced the re-opening date.

According to Thabo Kessah, senior officer: Communication and Brand Management, they have not decided when the university would re-open.

“We still have to meet with the SRC members before we can announce that,” Kessah said.

Students were reportedly ordered to vacate the university premises on Thursday by 13:00, as they were allegedly damaging university property. The angry and frustra­ted students then went on to block the main road (R57) with stones.

The management of the school released a statement that reads: “After careful consideration of the prevailing circumstances and the continued damage to property and intimidation of staff and students, we have decided it will be in the best interest of the students, staff and property to close the campus until further notice.

“This closure will afford all of us an opportunity to take the necessary steps to re-instate a conducive teaching and learning environment.”

Some of the students were left in no-man’s land, as they had no money to travel to homes as far away as KwaZulu-Natal and they had to stand on the side of the road to ask for a lift.

The whole drama unfolded after students had stated that management did not correctly respond to demands that they had submitted in a memorandum on Wednesday, 11 May.

Among the demands that the SRC mentioned on their memorandum were: the removal of the Compass Group as a catering company on the campus with immediate effect; the appointment of a company that will cater for all needs: vegetarian, kosher, halaal, African traditional foods and others; maximum allocation and revamping of all sporting codes”.

Paseka Sikhosana, the SRC president, said that they were not happy with the response to many of their demands.

“We have engaged the management on those matters for a long time, but until today, nothing has been implemented,” he said.

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