UJ students go to court to stop 'bouncers'

2016-10-11 05:57
(Lizeka Tandwa, News24)

(Lizeka Tandwa, News24)

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Johannesburg - Four University of Johannesburg students and a freelance journalist will seek a court interdict on Tuesday to stop hired "bouncers" from allegedly assaulting them.

Their attorney Tracy Lomax-Nixon said they applied for an urgent interdict to stop private security guards from "hunting down students" and acting beyond the bounds of the law.  

"We have instances where the private security have left campus and hunted down students. It is not acceptable for private security to assault and intimidate them, even in the streets," Lomax said.

She said some of her clients were assaulted as recently as last week. She claimed they were not part of the ongoing Fees Must Fall protests at the institution.

Lomax said their application, to be heard in the High Court in Johannesburg, does not call for the private security to be removed from campus. They do not want to interfere with the contractual relations between the university and private company Fidelity.

"Our interdict is for them to stop assaulting, harassing, and intimidating students."

Crowd control

"They must act within the bounds of the law. The obligation to enforce any interdict must fall on SAPS and not on private security," Lomax told News 24. 

Earlier this month, University of Johannesburg vice chancellor Ihron Rensburg apologised after video footage of Fidelity guards assaulting students emerged. He said at the time they were speaking to Fidelity to find out what happened.

Rensburg said they had to bring in Fidelity’s crowd control unit to quell protests.

"Universities are not in the business of crowd control. We had to bring in people who are allegedly competent in crowd control situations," he said.

The university has spent up to R15m on private security across its four campuses since the Fees Must Fall campaign started in October 2015. 


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