Police presence outside Hatfield campus

CHAD JOHNSTON

On 6 September, the South African Police Service (SAPS) were stationed at the Prospect street entrance outside UP’s Hatfield campus where a protest was planned by the EFF Student Command UP (EFFSC- UP).

The planned protest was in response to the disciplinary hearings of four students who allegedly held a UP staff member hostage in the Merensky Library on 26 May.

On 5 September, the EFFSC-UP posted on Facebook saying, “We will never forget those in need. Those who stood for nothing, but better conditions for the marginalised and forgotten in the institution. Tomorrow we have a date with the enemy…” In the post, they called for “solidarity against racism and institutionalized tyranny”. The post was made under the hashtag #FearFokol.

Early on 6 September, a Nyala and two police vans were parked outside the Prospect street entrance. The police presence was limited to this area until about midday when they left briefly. Later that afternoon, the SAPS returned when a small group of protesters sang and danced outside the gate.

According to UP’s media liaison, Candice Jooste, SAPS were positioned outside the campus “based on information received from their criminal investigation department (CID) that a protest had been planned for [6 September]. A small group of protesters gathered and the protest went ahead without incident.” According to another UP media liaison, Rikus Delport, the disciplinary hearings have been postponed.

On 19 February 2016, UP obtained an interdict against Afriforum Youth and EFFSC-UP following violent language policy protests. The interdict has recently been extended until 7 December 2017. When asked as to whether the EFFSC-UP’s protest was in violation of this interdict, Delport said that due to the fact that the protest took place outside of UP’s campus, it did not violate the interdict.

 

Image: Shaun Sproule

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