Interdict prevents protests at UFH

The University of Fort Hare yesterday obtained a court interdict forbidding all its students from protesting at the Alice campus or near it.

Police monitoring situation at UFH’s Alice campus last week Picture: SINO MAJANGAZA

The university approached the Bhisho High Court after students damaged the institution’s property in ongoing protests.

Student leaders said they would wait until they received a mandate from students before deciding what action to take next.

Granting the interdict, Judge Belinda Hartle said she had found that the matter was urgent.

She also granted the university permission to inform the 19 student respondents that they had been served the interdict via the campus Facebook page and e-mails.

Among those on the list of respondents are the entire UFH SRC – president Mosuli Cwele, secretary Ahlomile Mafu and Alice campus student premier Lwandile Mgedezi.

UFH had approached Hartle’s courtroom seeking that she “interdict and restrain all the respondents, except number 20 [Alice police station commander Colonel Joyce Qabaka], from participating in unlawful behaviour and demonstrations at or near the university, from intimidating, harassing, threatening, injuring or harming the staff, students, security personnel and any other employee of the university”.

Hartle also interdicted the students from damaging the university’s property and interfering with the institu academic activities.

According to the court papers, Qabaka should deploy members of the police to ensure the interdict was implemented.

Hartle said the background in the application was provided to her by security services supervisor Mfundo Paliso and university vice-chancellor Professor Sakhela Buhlungu.

The conduct of the protesters, according to the application, is coordinated by the SRC of the university, “who are involved in orchestrating the illegal behaviour of students”.

According to the papers, since the protest started last week, academic activities had been severely affected, “with a number of reported instances of students wishing to attend lectures being harassed and victimised”.

Students’ demands include fee waivers for academically gifted students, a non-residence allowance for those living in digs, and a consistent supply of clean water, among others. —

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