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State of our campuses: UFS Qwaqwa Campus temporarily closed until 18 April 2017
2017-04-03

The senior leadership of the University of the Free State (UFS) has decided to close the Qwaqwa Campus on Tuesday 28 March 2017 due to student protests regarding provisional registrations. Academic activities will resume on 18 April 2017. 
 
The protests were preceded by a meeting of the campus management with the Student Representative Council (SRC) on 22 March 2017 to discuss issues pertaining to students who are provisionally registered – especially those students who are provisionally registered and awaiting the outcome of their appeals to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
 
On 27 March 2017, the SRC handed a memorandum to the campus management, requesting assistance in cases that are on appeal with NSFAS. The students also demanded extension of the provisional registration deadline of 31 March 2017, and that a fundraising plan should be implemented for financially needy students. The campus management made a commitment to respond within the deadline stipulated in the memorandum.
 
After the meeting, violence erupted when a group of students started intimidating students, barricading the entrance to the campus, and damaging university property. An interdict was served by the Sheriff later the same afternoon and additional security was deployed. On 28 March 2017, the violent protests and barricades spilled onto the provincial road to Phuthaditjhaba and several cars were damaged. This led to the arrest of a number of students by members of the South African Police Service for the contravention of the High Court order and for public violence. The students have since been released.
 
Due to the imminent threat to the safety of staff and students on the campus, the senior leadership decided on 28 March 2017 to evacuate the residences and to close the campus temporarily until 18 April 2017.
             
“It is unfortunate that the students resorted to violence without waiting for the campus management’s response to the memorandum of 27 March 2017. What makes the situation difficult is the fact that students on provisional registration who are waiting for the outcome of their NSFAS appeals, are dealing directly with NSFAS. This makes it difficult for the university to intervene,” says Mr Teboho Manchu, acting Principal of the Qwaqwa Campus.
 
The senior leadership of the UFS is aware of the video clip on social media this week, where a student is allegedly beaten by security guards on the Qwaqwa Campus. The senior leadership condemns this deplorable incident. An investigation is underway to determine the nature and cause of the incident. Appropriate steps will be taken once the outcome of the investigation is available.

Released by:
Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Brand Management)
Telephone: +27 51 401 2584 | +27 83 645 2454
Email: news@ufs.ac.za | loaderl@ufs.ac.za
Fax: +27 51 444 6393