Rhodes pulls out of UFH intervarsity bash

Rhodes University has pulled out of the Eastern Cape intervarsity two-day sporting extravaganza which starts at the University of Fort Hare Alice campus today.

Rhodes said it was not taking part because UFH could not address its safety concerns in time.

While Walter Sisulu University (WSU) confirmed it would attend the annual event, it said students might not attend the afterparty event – something some students look forward to more than the on-field activities themselves.

The fourth university involved, Nelson Mandela University (NMU), said its safety concerns were addressed this week, paving the way for the institution to attend the tournament.

With Rhodes out, NMU, WSU and UFH will battle it out for bragging rights for soccer, rugby, netball and other sporting codes.

Then there will be the afterparty, which in recent years has descended into lawlessness as students go on drinking sprees, with some falling victim to rape and others killed.

As the hosts, UFH had to provide participating institutions with security plans, which included a risk assessment of the event by police. Rhodes said UFH had failed to provide the plans in time.

In a letter issued by Rhodes director of students affairs, Malinge Gqeba, dated August 15, he said they were still battling to get a comprehensive plan from Fort Hare’s planning committee.

“For any event of this magnitude to take place, there are certain legal requirements that have to be met,” he said.

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