NMMU South campus declared a 'no-go' zone

2016-10-20 22:39


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Port Elizabeth – Running battles between protesters and police entered the third day at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) on Thursday.

Despite the announcement that the university would remain open, students declared the South campus a no-go zone and threw rocks at people not taking part in protests and at staff vehicles, damaging at least 13.

Security guards blocked the entrance and advised staff and students to leave their vehicles off campus and walk to classes. 

Groups of student sat at strategic points, armed with rocks. Rocks were stashed around campus, in bins, on ledges, in stairwells, and public toilets. By mid-morning police moved in and the first of a number of clashes ensued.

Stones rained down on police and campus security as they tried to disperse students. Students moved into the Letaba female residence, where they continued to throw stones at police, who used rubber bullets, teargas, and a water cannon against them. 

One student in the residence suffered a panic attack and was taken to hospital, as was a security guard who was struck by a rock. 

The clashes moved to the Xanadu and Veritas residences, where students flung rocks from the rooftops. A petrol bomb struck a water cannon. 

Only one female protester was arrested after police found rocks in her backpack.

In custody

Meanwhile, 31 suspected NMMU Fees Must Fall protesters appeared in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Thursday. The 16 women and 15 men were arrested during clashes with police on Wednesday. They would remain in custody until their next appearance on Friday.

NMMU spokesperson Zandile Mbabela said the university remained open.

“That said, as things stand, we do understand that it will not be possible to conduct classes on South campus.” 

The university was exploring alternative ways for students to complete the academic year. A priority was getting students in their final years of study to complete their modules.

Mbabela said the university would do everything possible to ensure students could continue staying in residences and studying there.

Traumatised staff and students could make use of the counselling services on the North campus’s HR department.


Read more on:    nmmu  |  port elizabeth  |  university fees

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