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Early this morning, 2 September 2019, protesting Nelson Mandela University students tried to block entrances to the North and South campuses. The University’s Protection Services and the additional security personnel deployed to the campuses who were on the scene tried to clear the barricades to ensure access to the campuses.

Violence ensued and the SA Police Service had to enforce the standing interdict, which aims to protect the rights of those wishing to access the University for work and learning and teaching purposes, as well as those wishing to engage in protest action.

This resulted in a standoff between protesting students and police that was largely concentrated at the Sanlam Student Village adjacent to South Campus. Police tried to disperse the crowd in accordance with the interdict. Protesting students retaliated by throwing stones.

The stone throwing caused physical harm to some security personnel and damage to some personal property on campus, which has led to the arrest of at least seven students.

The University wishes to reiterate its commitment to inclusive stakeholder engagement in line with the policy crafted in consultation with the SRC and approved by Council in 2018.

Until now, no new official memorandum of grievances has been received from the students, despite persistent requests.

We wish to remind students of this formal engagement process when wanting to raise their concerns, before resorting to protest action.

The University is therefore of the view that the protest action today does not warrant or justify closure of the institution. The matters raised by protesting students last week have been addressed.

The University is committed to safeguarding the continuity of its learning and teaching mandate.

Communication channels through the aforementioned approved protocols remain open.

Communication and Stakeholder Liaison

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777