The University of Johannesburg (UJ) remains open amid protests by students under the Fees Must Fall banner.
The University of Johannesburg UJ has condemned the actions of private security guards who threw rocks and pepper-sprayed protesters at the Doornfontein main campus yesterday. The students were marching as part of the Fees Must Fall movement on a day when UJ was continuing with the academic programme.
The security used rocks, batons, rubber bullets and pepper spray on unarmed students, members of staff and journalists. Earlier today, EWN reported that “the university has said it’s unhappy with the conduct of the guards, and will meet with the outsourced company today to discuss the allegations of brutality.”
Earlier today, the South African National Editor’s Forum added its voice to the outrage over the incidents: “Private security officials hired by the university attacked journalists and students at the Doornkloof and Kingsway campuses,” wrote Mathatha Tsedu, SANEF executive director in a statement.
Students have responded to the attacks by referring to the security as the “UJ Bouncers” on social media. UJ SRC have said that the security company “don’t belong on campuses” and “aggravate an already tense situation.” UJ academics Rubina Setlhare, Shahid Mathee and Tariq Toffa have called on university management to engage with the students and remove the private security guards.
Students were warned against gatherings taking place without applying to do so and the university has now obtained an interdict to prevent protests on campus. The interdict is said to prevent unlawful activity on campus and to ensure that classes continue as normal and as such, protest actions need to take place 100 meters away from university boundaries. The blocking of entrances, prevention of access, disruptions and damage to property has been prohibited.
Investigations are still underway into a fire inside a lecture hall today at the Bunting Road campus.