Fort Hare university's Alice campus shuts after 'dangerous' protests

The University of Fort Hare.
The University of Fort Hare.
Image: Rod Bally

The University of Fort Hare has suspended lectures on its Alice campus until Monday.

This comes after protests about National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding, which began on Monday, degenerated into “a serious and dangerous situation”, the university said.

It said the actions of students had “brought serious discredit to the university”.

Students allegedly chased down two cows, which were killed after they hacked off chunks of meat while the animals were still alive.

“We are taking concrete and decisive steps to address student concerns across all campuses,” the university said, adding that it trusted this would ensure a smooth fourth semester after the early recess.

Public Order Police (POP) were deployed to Alice on Wednesday to monitor the situation after a group of students tried to set fire to the kitchen.

“Security saw the fire before it could spread. Fire brigades were called and they stopped the fire,” Eastern Cape police spokesperson Capt Khaya Tonjeni said on Thursday.

Three male students, aged between 20 and 22, were arrested and charged with burglary, said police. They are expected to appear in the Alice Magistrate's Court soon.

“POP continues to monitor the situation,” said Tonjeni.

The Daily Dispatch newspaper reported that on Monday, students held a mass meeting and demanded that vice-chancellor Sakhela Buhlungu explain why the university was not helping students file their appeals after being rejected for NSFAS funding.

SRC student services' officer Zenathi Mbenya was quoted as saying: “Out of about 600 appeals, the UFH appeals committee rejected 490 appeals. Then, during the mass meeting, students agreed that vice-chancellor come address them. That did not happen. That is what angered the students.”


X