ANC condemns NWU student protests

2016-02-25 14:02

Rustenburg - The African National Congress has called for police to move swiftly to apprehend those involved in the destruction of property at the North-West University's Mahikeng campus.

The party condemned the violence and destruction at the institution. 

“We view the torching of a vehicle and burning of buildings as the work of misguided criminal elements and call on the law enforcement agencies to move swiftly to apprehend and charge those involved,” it said.

However, the ANC also said there was no justification for the use of excessive force by the protection services at the institution.

“In the same manner that vandalism and damage of university buildings goes beyond the limits of a right to protest... Yesterday’s developments are a reflection of a failure of necessary leadership in dealing with disagreement from both students and management.”

University spokesperson Koos Degenaar told News24 on Wednesday that the clashes began shortly after the campus's new Student Representative Council (SRC) was appointed in the Great Hall.

"The inauguration of a newly appointed SRC was held around 11:00 this morning on campus. When it started, a group of EFF Student Command members began disrupting proceedings by shouting and singing," Degenaar said.

Despite the disruptions, the proceedings continued and the programme was concluded by 12:30.

"As students left the venue, last year's suspended SRC president, Linda Mabengwane, began addressing students," Degenaar said. "Campus security dispersed the crowd, which led to clashes between security and students."

Pictures of bleeding individuals, said to have been part of the clashes at the university, were circulated on Twitter. One man could be seen bleeding from his forehead, while another was shown lying on the ground, face down with blood splatters around him.

The University has denied allegations that security personnel used live ammunition on Wednesday.

Degenaar told News24 on Wednesday night that security guards had only used rubber bullets and teargas to disperse the protesters.

He also said that reports of a death of one of the students were also false.

Mabengwane denied claims that he had caused disruptions on campus that led to violent clashes between students and campus security.

He said he had been denied access to the university's premises and was standing outside when a group of students approached him, demanding that he address them.

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