Police clamp down on UFS protests


21 October 2015: The three campuses at UFS were closed on Wednesday after hundreds of students blocked the main gate last night. The university has since received a court interdict against protesting students.

BLOEMFONTEIN -- 21 people were on Thursday apprehended during a raid at the University of the Free State (UFS).

Police made the arrests following a breakdown in negotiations over outsourcing between the university and workers.

Even though a deal was evevtually struck between those two parties, students began a different protest, calling for the resignation of Vice Chancellor, Jonathan Jansen.

They allege Jansen is behind most of the problems at the institution, in particular, the oppression of black students.

Earlier in the day, university management had met with students to discuss a way forward but no resolution was reached. 

“We have requested demands to the memorandum. According to my own opinion, I do not believe we are sufficiently responded to,” said Lindo Ntuli, UFS SRC President.

Students reportedly tried to take down the statue of Marthinus Theunis Steyn in the main campus building, after which police started raiding residences, including those of non-protesting students.

Tshepang Mahlatsi; who resides at the Tswelopele Residence told eNCA; 

"They instructed the police to come inside this house and chase everyone they see. The pepperspray was poured all over this residence. One thing they did.

"One thing they said was that we are protected. How can they say we are protected, if the children will be arrested by the police. I have the keys for this house. [And] the police were told they have the right to break this house. I called one of the top managers. They told me the police have each and every right to break this house," said Mahlatsi.

Violence broke out at the institution earlier this week when black protesting students were attacked by their white peers during a protest at a rugby match. 

Police say those arrested will face a charge of malicious damage to property.

They are closely monitoring the situation at the university.