Nelson Mandela University entrances blockaded in anti-crime protest

26 August 2019 - 08:07 By TIMESLIVE
Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth.
Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth.

Gates to the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth were shut on Monday morning.

“When staff tried to unblock barricades, it almost escalated into violence. Management has temporarily halted all student transport as a precautionary measure,” the university shared on social media.

A police unit is monitoring the situation. The barricades were at the north and south entrances.

The protest action is believed to relate to growing outrage over reports of muggings and robberies affecting staff and students.

On-site academic activities were called off.

"In light of this morning’s protest action. . .

Management have taken a decision to host lectures via alternative methods today until further notice on all PE campuses. All efforts will continue to maintain accessibility on North and South campuses."

The university said in a statement on Sunday that this was an issue of great concern to everyone on campus, as well as elsewhere in the metro, and it was already implementing additional security measures to curb crime, in conjunction with students and other role players.

Increased concerns about crime over the past three years have come from the suburb of Summerstrand and the inner city, where there is a concentration of students.

Several initiatives to curb criminal activity have been put in place on university campuses and their surrounds, in collaboration with police and private security companies, said the university's management.

Efforts towards crime-proofing its campuses include active access monitoring at the entrances, new fencing, additional alarms in labs and a biometric entry system for the university’s student residences in Port Elizabeth.

The university has also increased the number of CCTV cameras and now has more than 1,000 cameras in its security network, including several with licence plate recognition capabilities.

HeraldLIVE reported on Monday that Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane had flagged the metro's high crime rate as a matter requiring attention.

“Crime is almost the order of the day. We have to arrest what is going on in Nelson Mandela Bay. It cannot continue unabated.