5 arrested after protests at the University of Mpumalanga turn violent

2018-11-13 17:39

Mpumalanga police say they arrested five protesters after they disrupted examinations and badly beat up a police officer at the University of Mpumalanga on Tuesday.

"In our bid to restore order at the institution and ensure that learners wrote exams, we were met with violence. Our police member was badly beaten with stones, this is uncalled for," police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi told News24.

The officer, whose identity is unknown, was rushed to hospital for medical care.

Police have opened a case of public violence and are investigating further.

'An unfortunate situation'

The University of Mpumalanga told News24 that it had gone to court to interdict staff members from disrupting final exams prior to Tuesday’s protest.

"In our country, we have laws. We went to court to intervene and staff were served with papers yesterday. It is an unfortunate situation that staff are disrupting students, however, we do not know what is going to happen," University of Mpumalanga Dean of Students Dr Paul Maminza said.

Maminza said the university had handed a list of demands from staff members, who belong to the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu), to the Department of Higher Education (DHET) last week.

"A memorandum was handed to the DHET last week Thursday. We are still waiting from direction regarding the staff members demands," Maminza said.

Cars damaged

No students were injured during the demonstration, but three vehicles were damaged.

The university was still hopeful, despite the disruptions, that examinations will continue.

"We have not sent students home. They are still on campus and we are hopeful that these protesters will allow students to write their examinations," Maminza said.

Police said they would maintain a presence until peace was restored.

"We are there to engage with relevant parties to ensure that learners write their exams and we will continue with maximum police presence at the University," Hlathi said.

Read more on:    education  |  protests

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