UP victimising us through suspensions - students

2016-02-29 13:36

Pretoria - Students from the University of Pretoria have accused the institution of victimising them following suspension letters being served on some students.

Mandla Ntimani was one of the students who said he found out in the morning that most of the students who were involved in the protest - including himself - had been suspended from the university.

He questioned the suspension, as the protest had taken place outside the institution.

"I understand that there was an interdict prohibiting us from protesting on campus, but the other crimes are for SAPS [to act on] and not for the university," he said.

Ntimani claimed the suspensions were a violation of students' rights, and would affect final-year students academically. He also lashed out at the heavy police presence on the campus.

"We are not criminals, we are not thugs. I don't understand what this [police presence] is for. It is not necessary, because we are not doing anything."

"Inside it's like a prison, we can't do anything and we can't go anywhere without being checked. It is not nice being victimised by the university."

Students at the university have been protesting over its language policy. At least 27 people were arrested two weeks ago for public violence and they appeared in court last week. Charges against three of them were dropped, leaving 24 students to stand trial. Their case was postponed to April 7.

The university was closed for a week due to the protests. Classes resumed on Monday amid a heavy police presence.

At least two police Nyalas and four police cars were seen parked outside the gates.

Suspended student Amla Monageng, a member of the Economic Freedom Fighters student command, said he had received an email informing him about the suspension over his involvement in the protest. He said he had taken his letter to his lawyer for advice.

He accused the university of targeting black people and not punishing the white students who started the fight.

"This is surprising because when the violence started, it was on the side of AfriForum and, as we speak, no one from AfriForum or the white people have been suspended."

UP spokesperson Anna-Retha Bouwer confirmed the suspensions, but could not confirm the number.

"I also cannot confirm that the students are only from one group, but the suspensions relate to unlawful actions during the protest action that we have had," she said.

Bouwer added that the suspensions were pending an investigation.

AfriForum national coordinator Morne Mostert said he could not comment on the matter of suspensions as he was not aware of the issue.

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