More student arrests at UFS

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Violence: PHOTO: MARK STEENBOK

A number of students were arrested this afternoon at the University of the Free State in the wake of violent protests that once again flared up since Monday.

Police spokesperson, Wendy Nkabi, confirmed 21 students were arrested in connection with contravening a current court order when they stormed to the statue allegedly with the intention to damage it. Nkabi says more arrests could have been made, but at this stage it is difficult to establish as the arrested are still being processed.

A group of students who were allegedly trying to topple the MT Steyn statue were stormed by police and campus security this afternoon. Public order police reportedly used rubber bullets and stun grenades when a group of riotous students gathered at the statue near the main building. Courant journalist Mark Steenbok says he and other journalists were also targeted by security officers. Some journalists were asked so show  their media cards or leave the campus.

This comes after disgruntled students made their way to the main building around 16:00 after Vice Rector, Choice Makhetha, had addressed them on campus near the main gate with feedback on the students’ memorandum of grievances. SRC president Lindokuhle Ntuli, spoke before Makhetha arrived saying dissatisfied students will continue to shut down the campus until their demands are fully met. They demand the immediate removal of Rector and Vice Chancellor, Jonathan Jansen. This was one of the main demands on a memorandum distributed by the SRC yesterday.

Makhetha said in her feedback that the demand for the removal of Jansen will be taken on an urgent basis by the Senate the Institutional Forum and the Council. She also said that the university will do everything in its power to enable continued registration of students. Makhetha added that residence demographics were already significantly inclusive, but it will again be reviewed with student leadership. Transformation will also continue to be pursued with urgency-students, staff requested to prepare submissions.

Makhetha after addressing the students said that management will now wait for feedback of the students.

Emotions flared up. Police and security were thrown with objects after which they intervened. Students were chased all over campus and arrested. – Mark Steenbok & Christal-Lize Muller