FS police ‘received no complaint of female assault’

PHOTO: Blaine Jones

The Free State police say no complaint of a female student being assaulted and beaten up by private security personnel at the University of Free State (UFS) was laid with them.

OFM News reports that this comes as student leaders at the university allege that a female student is fighting for her life at a hospital after she was allegedly assaulted by security during protests at the university this week against financial exclusion and registration difficulties. Ten students allege they have been shot by police while 24 were arrested on Thursday after the police received numerous complaints. The student leaders allege that they have been facing a series of assaults and harassment for the past week at the university.

However, the UFS spokesperson, Lacea Loader, previously told OFM News that “the executive management is committed to ensuring stability on campus and to the uninterrupted continuation of academic and administrative services and will continue to engage with students to find amicable solutions to matters that are of concern to them. It remains important that the 2021 academic year continues and that it is completed successfully”.

The OFM News team was on the scene on Thursday just as the police loaded a group of protesters into vans after demonstrations against the 2021 registration process moved to the main campus gate, located in Nelson Mandela Drive.

Amongst those arrested, a senior student reveals from inside a police van that he owes the institution R120 000 and is unable to register due to financial challenges.

“Many of us have not registered. I owe the institution R120 000 and no-one is working at home, that is why we’re here. Our only sin is to want to get an education.” He further alleges that some of them were fetched from their homes by authorities and arrested.

Meanwhile, the Free State Police spokesperson, Motantsi Makhele, said the Public Order Police were deployed to the main entrance of the UFS just before midday on Thursday after receiving several complaints of roughly 50 demonstrating students blocking a part of the Nelson Mandela Drive.

The arrested students are set to appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Friday to face charges related to the contravention of the Road Traffic Act and Gatherings Act