UFH MANAGEMENT BEEFS UP SECURITY DUE TO ESCALATION ON INCIDENTS OF VIOLENCE

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Attention: All Media Houses                                    30 January 2020

For Immediate release

Management is deeply perturbed by the escalation on incidents of violence and vandalism both on the Alice and East London campuses since the launch of the call by the South African Union of Students (SAUS) to shut down campuses across the country. This is despite ongoing engagements with the SRC. The disruptions have already severely hampered the registration of new and returning students and are interfering with the start of the academic programme for 2020.

Lectures are meant to commence on 03 February on all campuses. This will not be possible if the disruption of registration does not cease. Since Tuesday (28th), there have been incidents of verbal and physical intimidation of other students, staff and their families, as well as damage to staff assets and university buildings. Also, vehicles belonging to members of the public were pelted with stones.

Management continues to do all in its power and within the law to ensure the safety of all stakeholders including parents and guardians of first year students who visit our campuses on daily basis. Vice-Chancellor Prof Sakhela Buhlungu, has apologised to affected parties. “We are doing all we can to stabilise the situation on all campuses and resume operations. We are working closely with our in-house security as well as contracted security personnel and SAPS, all of whom are operating under instruction to show restraint and only act in defence of persons and property.”

Already, 14 students have been arrested - three in Alice for injuries sustained by a security guard and two student assistants - and eleven in East London for public violence and damage to property. Management continues to reach out to the SRC in order to quell the spread of violence. “We condemn all acts of criminality including targeting of senior staff members and their families. We have opened cases with SAPS and will pursue all possible measures to prevent future occurrences”, said Prof Buhlungu. Students, their families and sponsors are encouraged to be patient as the university works towards getting teaching and learning underway.

Lectures are meant to commence on 03 February on all campuses. This will not be possible if the disruption of registration does not cease. Since Tuesday (28th), there have been incidents of verbal and physical intimidation of other students, staff and their families, as well as damage to staff assets and university buildings. Also, vehicles belonging to members of the public were pelted with stones.

Management continues to do all in its power and within the law to ensure the safety of all stakeholders including parents and guardians of first year students who visit our campuses on daily basis. Vice-Chancellor Prof Sakhela Buhlungu, has apologised to affected parties. “We are doing all we can to stabilise the situation on all campuses and resume operations. We are working closely with our in-house security as well as contracted security personnel and SAPS, all of whom are operating under instruction to show restraint and only act in defence of persons and property.”

Already, 14 students have been arrested - three in Alice for injuries sustained by a security guard and two student assistants - and eleven in East London for public violence and damage to property. Management continues to reach out to the SRC in order to quell the spread of violence. “We condemn all acts of criminality including targeting of senior staff members and their families. We have opened cases with SAPS and will pursue all possible measures to prevent future occurrences”, said Prof Buhlungu. Students, their families and sponsors are encouraged to be patient as the university works towards getting teaching and learning underway.

Ends.

Enquiries:

Tandi Mapukata

tmapukata@ufh.ac.za

064 896 6390