7 UFS students arrested, held in police van for 4 hours

Bloemfontein - Seven University of the Free State (UFS) students, including two SRC members, were arrested at the QwaQwa campus on Wednesday and detained in a police van for four hours.

One of those held, South African Students Congress (Sasco) chairperson Arthur Moyana, said they were blocked from leaving the campus on Wednesday morning before being arrested.

He said they were trying to leave the campus when they were detained.

"They put us in the van and drove to the police station and parked the car," Moyana told News24 from inside the van.

"We have been in this car for four hours and nothing is happening. We can't even find out why they have arrested us for walking on campus."

READ: Police probe claims live ammunition was used on UFS students

Aside from the two SRC members arrested, four members of the university's student parliament - including the student parliament speaker - were arrested.

"Apparently this was the target of management to make sure that all the student leaders are arrested," Moynana said.

Public violence

Free State police spokesperson Sergeant Christopher Mophiring said the students were arrested for public violence on the QwaQwa campus over the past few weeks.

He said: "Police had to finish the paperwork" before taking the students out of the police van.

The SRC offices were also searched as part of normal procedure, Mophiring said.

READ: Exams will go ahead, despite protests - UFS

Meanwhile, on the UFS Bloemfontein campus, roughly 50 students gathered outside the Steve Biko House student centre on Wednesday morning to call for free higher education.

The SRC planned to hand over a memorandum to the university's management at 10:00, but this was delayed due to an executive meeting with management.


On Monday, the university said additional exam opportunities would be provided for students who were "traumatised by events" at the university campus, where private security officials allegedly assaulted students.

The 36 students who were arrested on Friday were released from police custody on Monday morning and would be accommodated for the exams, the university said.

News24 previously reported that the police had launched a probe to investigate the use of live ammunition during student protests.

University of the Free State SRC president Asive Dlanjwa told News24 that university disruptions could have been avoided if the Fees Commission report was released.

He urged SRCs at other universities to join the call for free education.

"Being quiet in the face of increments is irresponsible as it is a direct threat to the struggle of the call for free education," Dlanjwa said.

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