UP campus can’t open without an agreement - EFF

Pretoria – The Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command at the University of Pretoria says classes at the institution cannot resume without an agreement being reached with management.

“Campus can’t open when there is no agreement,” said chairperson, Kabelo Mahlobogwane.

He said they had a meeting with the vice chancellor, Professor Cheryl de la Rey, but they could not reach an agreement. Mahlobogwane said the university had still not accepted their memorandum and they want to discuss that first before returning to class.

“We don’t want to go back to Tukkies, we want to go back to the University of Pretoria. It must be transformed first. We will wait for the university to give us a date on when we are going to start engaging on the memorandum,” he said.

Peaceful engagements

Mahlobogwane said they would afford the university an opportunity to engage with them on Friday and meet with students on Monday to get a mandate on the way forward.

"It is clear that we will not go back to an un-transformed institution," he said.

De la Rey said the institution would resume activities on Monday. She said extra security would be brought in and they would also be working with the South African Police Service to restore order.

She said they would adopt a zero tolerance to violence and crime when the institution opened its doors next week.

“Given what happened, we have taken additional security measures and we have taken time to work with the South African Police Service and we are saying enough is enough.

"We commit to peaceful engagements but we cannot have disruptions to the academic programme. We cannot have intimidations; we cannot have threats levelled to students, staff and anyone else who want to be part of this,” she said.

Zero tolerance for troublemakers

Students at the university have been protesting over its language policy. At least 27 people were arrested last week Friday for public violence and they appeared in court on Monday.

Charges against three of them were dropped, leaving only 24 students to stand trial. Their case was postponed to April 7. The university has been closed due to the ongoing student protests and violence.

De la Rey said she had been meeting with different structures at the institution to find an amicable solution to issues raised and to ensure that the academic programme could return to normal. But she vowed to that the institution would use its authority to deal with troublemakers.

“We will employ an approach of zero tolerance. That means we will use all our internal procedures as relevant," she said. "If an act is a crime, we are going to treat it as a crime. We have internal process for transgressions of our code of conduct but if something is a crime, it must be dealt with as a crime."

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