The University of Free State is investigating an incident in which a faculty head apparently told a student he would see it to it that he was not registered as he had taken part in recent campus protests that saw several statues vandalised and pulled down.
The lecturer, the head of the geology department, Frederick Roelofse, allegedly also vowed to resign should the student be allowed to register.
University spokesperson, Lacea Loader, said the incident was being investigated as a matter of urgency. Loader said it was hoped it would be resolved by the end of the week.
Speaking to News24, third-year geology student, Tebogo Ntshaling, 21, said campus security was ordered by the department head to remove him from campus last week on Monday.
“The lecturer also told me that my presence at the university was illegal,” he said.
Ntshaling said when he went back to the department on Tuesday, he decided to record their conversation.
In an audio provided to News24 by Ntshaling, Roelofse said, “Even if there is still space – I want to see personally that you are prosecuted for what you did last week [February 22 – 26].
“I will fight from my side to make sure that you don’t get registered, and if that doesn’t happen then I will resign from my position as head of the department.”
Ntshaling said after he tried to reach out to the lecturer, he was told that he was not allowed on campus.
“I was heartbroken when he said that to me because I only have one module to finish, so that I can get my degree – and I deserved to participate in the protest. It is my right,” he said.
On Monday February 22, a small group of protesters disrupted a Varsity Cup rugby match at Shimla Park Stadium, which culminated in a mass brawl with spectators.
On Tuesday morning, EFF protesters pulled down and vandalised a statue of Charles Robberts Swart at the university.
CR Swart was the last Governor General of the Union of South Africa until 1961, and was president of the Republic of South Africa from 1961 to 1967.
Protesters burnt tyres at the foot of the statue, and used hammers and rocks to bring it down.
On Thursday, security guards were brought in to protect the statue of Marthinus Theunis Steyn from further vandalism. Steyn was the sixth and last president of the Orange Free State from 1896 to 1902.
Ntshaling said he was involved in all of the protests.[Source: News24]