UWC calls in cops after day of violent protests

2015-10-30 18:48
One of the doors in the admin building which was damaged by the protesters. (Supplied UWC)

One of the doors in the admin building which was damaged by the protesters. (Supplied UWC)

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Watch: UWC protesters march on campus

2015-10-23 17:20

Students at UWC occupied their Admin Building amongst the #feesmustfall campaign. WATCH

Cape Town - UWC has applied for an urgent court order and has allowed police onto its campus following a day of violent protests on its campus, the university has confirmed.

"This is not UWC," Vice Chancellor Professor Tyrone Pretorius said in a statement on Friday.

Staff met with protesting students, who "just wanted their voices to be heard" and engage with top management and the SRC through a mediator.

"The Chancellor, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, graciously agreed to this, even though he only returned from London this morning and proceeded directly from the airport to the campus. 

"While I was briefing the Archbishop on the objectives of the intervention, arrangements were made for him and me to meet with the SRC first and then with the leaders of the protesting group.

“It is our information that soon after this arrangement was communicated, a group of students marched from the Student Centre to the residences, indicating that they were going to mobilise support. At the residences the security refused them entry, which led to students using bricks, belts, sticks and sjamboks against the security."

Pretorius said several security guards were injured, one so badly that he required hospitalisation.

"The students then proceeded in the direction of the Student Centre and basically thrashed and vandalised the administration building - the first and second floors of both the East and West wings – [as well as the] the Campus Protection offices and the School of Government building," he said.

Reports of widespread damage all over the campus were also received, Pretorius said.

"As I, members of the executive and professional staff as well as the SRC, were trapped in the [administration] building [for an hour], I experienced first-hand the trauma that our residence students have been going through for the last number of days.

"Consequently, I… had no other choice but to apply for an urgent court order, as well as to bring the police onto campus. Unfortunately the police did not respond immediately, because of the past action taken against [them] when they acted on campuses without the protection of a court order."

The sentiment that the protesting group "only wanted to be heard" was proven untrue by their actions, the vice chancellor insisted.

"They are claiming this rampage is the result of the rector not being available for them and I reject this claim absolutely. The evidence is there that they pretended to want to have a dialogue, but when the opportunity was presented to them, they went on a rampage."

Read more on:    uwc  |  cape town  |  university fees

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