UP closes campus after student clashes

2016-02-19 09:43
Students clashing with police and security at the University of Pretoria on Thursday. (Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

Students clashing with police and security at the University of Pretoria on Thursday. (Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

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Pretoria – The University of Pretoria (UP) has suspended all its academic programmes at its Groenkloof and Hatfield campuses for the day after scuffles broke out on Thursday over its language policy, UP spokesperson Anna-Retha Bouwer said.

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The institution also obtained a court interdict against AfriForum Youth and the EFF Student Command (EFFSC).

“The situation was monitored overnight because there were threats of interruption. A decision was made to close the two campuses.

“This decision was made to secure the safety of students and also to allow time for consultation with student leaders. We decided to obtain a court interdict at midnight on Thursday,” Bouwer told News24.

Bouwer said AfriForum Youth and the EFF Student Command are fighting against each other.

On Thursday, a meeting between the university and several organisations ended in a stand-off. 

ANC Youth League Secretary at UP, Samkele Cetyiwe, claimed Afriforum derailed plans for the meeting but Afriforum denied this.

“We were going to debate language policy. AfriForum managed to get into the meeting and disrupted proceedings. One thing led to another and a black student was hit by a white student,” he claimed.

AfriForum Youth's national co-ordinator Morne Mostert refuted claims that they caused the disruptions.

He said a meeting was called between student structures such as the EFFSC, YPA, and UPRising to discuss the university’s language policy. He had received an invitation in his personal capacity.

“Students on campus said they wanted Afrikaans to remain as a mother tongue language. The meeting was cancelled and we handed over a memorandum to ask that the university should recognise Afrikaans and Sepedi as mother tongues to be taught,” he said.

Bouwer said the court interdict prevented students from disrupting classes, using hate speech and any unlawful action.

Read more on:    university of pretoria  |  pretoria  |  education  |  university fees  |  protests  |  university protests

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