They pepper sprayed me - UJ cleaner

2015-11-05 18:16
(Lizeka Tandwa, News24)

(Lizeka Tandwa, News24)

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Johannesburg - "How can they do this to me? They punched me and pepper sprayed me," a University of Johannesburg (UJ) cleaner cried on Thursday as paramedics assisted her.

Nthabiseng Moloi was participating in a peaceful protest when external security guards employed by the university used violence to disperse the crowd.

News24 saw some of the guards slapping and punching women, young and old.

A PhD student, who wanted to be known only as Claire, was trying to assist the women who had been doused with pepper spray in their eyes. She said she had never seen anything like that before.

"I saw two women in their 40s, who were refusing to leave the campus, being continuously sprayed with pepper in their eyes. When I was trying to reach out to the woman with water, one of the security guards took my bottle and emptied the content," Claire told News24.

She said she witnessed five incidents where students and workers were pepper-sprayed while being held down by security. Three women were taken to hospital shortly after the violence erupted.

Former Student Representative Council (SRC) member Rendani Tshivhula, who stayed close to one of women the paramedics were assisting, said he witnessed security strangling her.

"We are still in shock. The reason I was consoling her is because we have been with them since the movement started.  She was strangled and she was beaten up by security with their batons. For a woman to be violated publicly, it’s shocking," Tshivula said.

"In a institution of higher education, where are we safe if our intellectual platforms are even dangerous for us? She felt highly violated. She has other health issues and I fear this assault might have triggered them."

The protest turned violent when students and workers demanded security unlock university gates on Thursday morning. The protest was against the outsourcing of staff.

The university was expected to brief the media later on Thursday afternoon.

Read more on:    uj  |  johannesburg  |  protests  |  education  |  university fees

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