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Temporary interdict against Elsenburg protests granted

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The Western Cape’s Department of Agriculture has been granted a temporary interdict barring any further disruptions at the Elsenburg Agricultural Institute near Stellenbosch.

The department said the temporary interdict was granted by the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday.

The college falls under the department, with its degree courses underwritten by the University of Stellenbosch.

“The purpose of the interdict is to prevent all students and non-students, and any other person, from participating in violent protest action and the disruption of college activities,” spokesperson Petro van Rhyn said.

 He said although students had the right to protest and raise important issues, the department, however, had a duty to make sure the environment was safe for the students and staff.

“A full programme to ensure that lost learning time is made up will be put in place. The schedule will be communicated to parents and students as soon as possible,” said Van Rhyn.

There has been an ongoing dispute over the language of instruction at the institution.

During previous protests, one student was injured after being attacked with a sjambok during a clash, and another student claimed she was slapped by a lecturer while singing with other protesters.

The college’s Student Representative Council (SRC) felt that non-white, non-Afrikaans-speaking students were being victimised.

Classes have been disrupted by students unhappy with the implementation of the institution’s dual English-Afrikaans language policy.

SRC chairperson Sabelo Ngcobo has previously said Afrikaans was being prioritised. They wanted classes to be in English only.

The department has also taken a decision to increase the level of security at the college after a number of students and non-students locked classrooms, barring students from attending lectures. Tests and exams were also disrupted earlier this week. News24


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