Cape cops vow not to use 'unreasonable force' against students

2015-10-22 19:29
(Jenna Etheridge, News24)

(Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town – Police in the Western Cape have undertaken not to use "unreasonable force" against peaceful student gatherings and demonstrations over tuition fee increases, according to a Western Cape High Court order granted on Thursday afternoon.

Mercia Andrews (a parent) and nine university students had approached the court on Wednesday night to get an urgent interdict preventing the police from using excessive force against students.

This followed a clash between students and police within the parliamentary precinct on Wednesday afternoon.

Hundreds of students had pushed their way through the gates of Parliament and were confronted by riot police and stun grenades a short while later.

Some students were injured.

The order, made final by Judge Nape Dolamo on Thursday, applied only to related activities in the province, not nationally.

As part of the order, the provincial police commissioner and Police Minister Nathi Nhleko agreed to remain within the confines of the law and not "use unreasonable force to disperse and/or police peaceful gatherings and/or demonstrations relating to tuition fee increases at South African Higher Education Institutions".

This agreement was made without prejudice to them and without acknowledging that the application was urgent or that the applicants were entitled to any substantive relief.

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande and Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete were included as respondents.

In turn, the listed students agreed to protest peacefully and not carry weapons, in line with a provision of the Constitution.

They also agreed to first obtain authorisation for such gatherings and respect national key points.

Should they demonstrate or gather near court, Parliament or national key point, the nine students agreed to observe a 100m radius.

Even though Andrews was not one of the parents of students listed in the application, she felt it necessary to intervene.

Speaking outside court, she said she hoped all parents of students would take similar positions when young people were being threatened.

"The way they were treated yesterday alarmed me to the extent that I came to court. If you look at what some of them look like still today, it was necessary and we hope now that this court order will take immediate effect," she said.

Read more on:    uct  |  cput  |  police  |  cape town  |  university fees

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