UFS protesters arrested after violence breaks out

FEBRUARY 26, 2016

Several University of the Free State students were arrested on Thursday evening after a group of protesters rejected the institution's response to their memorandum demanding that vice chancellor Jonathan Jansen resign.

Violence broke out after Student Representative Council president Lindokuhle Ntuli told protesters about management's reply.

The university's response said: "The demand for the removal of the rector will be taken on an urgent basis to the bodies that make this decision - the senate, the institutional forum and the council, on which structures the students are all represented."

Following this students gathered around the statue of Marthinus Theunis Steyn in front of the campus' main building. Police then used stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the students.

Several students were also arrested. One arrested student shouted from the police van: "We will never rest, they will shoot us, but we will never get tired. I will die for South Africa."

The students, led by Ntuli, also wanted contract workers to be insourced, and for the Shimla Park brawl during a rugby game on Monday to be investigated. They wanted those who had assaulted protesters at the stadium on Monday night to be brought to book. The memorandum was handed to the vice rector of external relations, Dr Choice Makhetha, late on Wednesday.

Other demands included that students facing de-registration should be allowed to complete their academic year, and for transformation and "decolonisation" to be fast-tracked.

They wanted campus buildings renamed after black struggle heroes, and for poor students to be given preference for placement, without ignoring the academic criteria already in place. The university council and senate should also have more black members.

On Wednesday protesters spray-painted the campus' main building with the words "JJ [Jonathan Jansen] must fall."