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Wed Jul 27 17:29:09 CAT 2016

SRC leaders threatened with violence during TUT protest

Lizeka Tandwa | 10 March, 2016 19:38
The institution said it would beef up security at the two campuses when they reopen on April 5 to protect the lives of students and staff. File photo
Image by: ALON SKUY

Five Local Student Representative Council (LSRC) leaders at the Tshwane University of Technology have been placed in safe houses following threats of violence against them after a series of protests at the Soshanguve North and South campuses.

Student protesters had attempted to torch the institution's library demanding that management resolve the issue of financial exclusion, among other things. The institution has since said it was forced to close due to the unrest.

TUT vice chancellor, Professor Laurens van Staden, said the five, who had distanced themselves from the protests, had become the main targets of the violence.

“We were forced to put measures [in place] to find them safe accommodation outside the campus,” he said.

Van Staden said the situation became increasingly bad when the deputy LSRC leader, Sithembiso Mbatha, manhandled the LSRC president and declared himself president.

He said nine protesting students were suspended, including five LSRC members. He said none of the students were arrested at the time.

Beef up security

The institution said it would beef up security at the two campuses when they reopen on April 5 to protect the lives of students and staff.

“The time of the closure will be used to resolve issues leading to the rolling protest action... More security measures at residences and around the campus in general will also be addressed,” he said.

The university shut the two campuses on Monday following weeks of violent protests. Students were given until Tuesday afternoon to vacate the campus premises.

On Tuesday morning, hundreds of people walked out with their bags. Some carried refrigerators.

Taxis were parked in front of the gates collecting stranded students. Not everyone was fortunate enough to be able to go home.

News24 reported previously that Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande expressed concern over the continued disturbances at the university. He said he was worried about what was happening at the two campuses.

Source News 24

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