PORT ELIZABETH, February 11 (ANA) – The South African Police Service (SAPS) has refuted reports that police officers were involved in the eviction of students from Walter Sisulu University’s Mthatha campus in the Eastern Cape.
Earlier this week, the university’s student representative council (SRC) president Sinelizwi Mantangayi reportedly said they were evicted from the campus by police; this after one of the campus buildings was set alight, allegedly by protesting students.
Students from the East London and Mthatha campuses have been protesting against issues related to the inability of poor students to pay registration costs and issues around access to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) since the beginning of the week. University spokesperson Yonela Tukwayo said students would not be allowed to enter the university premises until things reverted back to normal.
University spokesperson Yonela Tukwayo said the students were evicted by the university’s security personnel and not police. National police spokesperson Brigadier Sally de Beer said: “Police members were not in any way involved in the eviction of students. The media which have incorrectly reported on this are requested to rectify their reports.”
However a student DailyXpose spoke to earlier said “the institution used both police and private security to evict students”. Police vehicles were present on campus.
The student also said “‘ Vice Chancellor, Rob Midgely is not interested in discussions with students”. Midgely is alleged to have said ”I am not running a charity organisation” in response to student concerns around registration costs and access to NSFAS funding.
Student Tinotenda Muringana said “the year has not started well, contrary to wide spread reports by mainstream media. This is just the beginning of things to come this year”.
Evicted students have now spent two nights sleeping at the Mthatha Town Hall.
– African News Agency (ANA) and WeeklyXpose reporter