Calm as Fort Hare SRC banned from holding mass meetings on premises

BY ASAVELA FEKEMA - MAY 20, 2016

There was calm at the University of Fort Hare's Alice campus on Friday morning as dignitaries began arriving after the Student Representative Council (SRC) at the university was banned from holding any mass meetings at the institution on Thursday evening.

The SRC had called for a meeting with the University management to try and resolve the issues that were raised on Wednesday night before the centenary celebrations on Friday - Friday’s event will be attended President Jacob Zuma as well as Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, who is a Fort Hare alumni and landed in East London on Thursday. 

However, an interdict was issued against the students by the Bisho High Court, and student leaders were reportedly notified of the interdict. Still, some students have vowed to disrupt the celebrations after their meeting at the Freedom Park on Thursday evening. Moments later, there were running battles between police and students as violence flared up again. 

The SRC president, Bulali Rawana, went onto social media to appeal to students to stay in their rooms and wait for announcement on the way forward.

“Comrades we urge all students to keep safe and wait from us. We are going to come back and brief you on everything. It is dangerous for you to be outside. Please do not do anything outside us. A way forward will be provided,” Rawana posted.

Meanwhile, Fort Hare Vice Chancellor, Dr Mvuyo Tom, admitted that there are tensions in the university and there is a possibility of disruptions occurring during Friday’s celebrations.

“The main purpose of the protest was to deal with their 16 demands, and most of them have been dealt with. It would seem that the real intension indeed is to try and disrupt the celebrations,” said Tom.

Police Minister, Nathi Nhleko, has promised maximum security for dignitaries, who also include former Fort Hare students, as well as ordinary people, who will be attending the celebrations.

Image courtesy of Matshidiso Madia via Twitter