University of Pretoria EFF student leader allegedly attacked by security

2016-09-01 19:03
(Wim Pretorius, News24)

(Wim Pretorius, News24)

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Pretoria - The deputy secretary general of the EFF student command at the University of Pretoria has accused the institution of sending private security guards to victimise members of the organisation.

His claims follow an alleged attack he suffered at the hands of the guards at the university's Hatfield campus on Wednesday night.

"Yesterday I tried to go to the toilet and these guys were following me [even] after humbly asking them to stop. They started insulting me and saying 'fuck you EFF' and I said I was walking away from [them]," Thapelo Madisha Magoromela told News24.

"They started manhandling me and one of them pulled my hand and then the Congolese guy punched me in the stomach. He then tripped me then they started assaulting me."

Magoromela said it was not the first time he had been assaulted or followed. He said he was with his friends when the incident took place on Wednesday.

"I humbly requested them to stop following me because they have been doing that for the past few months. It can't be that I'm always followed because we are not doing anything. They assaulted me and students started taking videos and called campus security to alert them to the incident. Afterwards, the security came and defused the situation," he said.

The university has denied that the attack was unprovoked. Spokesperson Anna-Retha Bouwer said Magoromela was drunk on the night. She said the incident took place outside the hall where the annual concert of the vice-chancellor and principal of the university was being held.

University a 'military space'

"The university has been informed of an altercation between an alleged drunken student and campus security which allegedly took place outside the concert hall. The incident is being investigated to establish the facts before the appropriate corrective action can be taken. The university is inviting any witnesses or anyone with information relating to the incident to contact the independent toll-free hotline at 0800 200 651," she said.

Bouwer said the institution was committed to ensuring the safety of staff, guests and students and would act in line with the applicable codes of conduct should any staff member, contractor or student be found guilty of violence and misconduct.

Magoromela however disputed Bouwer's version of events and said it was not the first incident involving private security guards at the institution. He said there had been another instance where he was manhandled.

"The people who were in the wrong were not blamed. The issue here is political where the management has hired our Congolese brothers to deal with us, which is unfair. We are scared as leaders to raise our issues. We are being silenced. The university tried to bribe us by taking me to a private hospital so that this matter will not escalate to the media," he said.

He added that the entire team of EFF leaders and their offices at the university were being watched.

"The university now is not an academic space; it's a military space where we are threatened and even followed to our classes, and it's unfair and infringes on my right as a student as well as my rights as a citizen of this country," he said.

Read more on:    university of pretoria  |  eff  |  pretoria  |  politics

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