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UWC condemns violence, intimidation

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A renewed call by a group of protesters at the University of the Western Cape to have the rector of the institution address them, has been turned down by university management.

In a statement on Saturday, the UWC executive explained that on Thursday the group of protesting students was informed by some staff members that a process of engagement, “facilitated by an eminent person” would be arranged, which subsequently began on Friday.

“While we were in the process of continuing this engagement on Friday morning and the chancellor had started his phased engagement process, this was significantly derailed by the indefensible acts of violence and intimidation. This does not constitute a conducive environment to find a resolution and a way forward.

“The executive cannot accept that at a university the message is that, if you are violent and destroy property, force and intimidate others to participate in the protest, as well as attempt to hold people hostage in buildings, your voices will be heard.

“We can only reactivate this process of engagement once the protesting group stands down, respects the dignity and constitutional rights of others and allows us to create an environment conducive to constructive engagement.”

The statement comes after UWC applied for an urgent court order and allowed police onto its campus following a day of violent protests on its campus.

News24 previously reported that staff met with protesting students, who wanted to engage with top management and the SRC through a mediator.

However, the executive said that after the chancellor, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, agreed to this, a group of students marched from the student centre to the residences, indicating that they were going to mobilise support. At the residences the security refused them entry, which led to students using bricks, belts, sticks and sjamboks against the security, the executive added.

Vice Chancellor Professor Tyrone Pretorius previously said several security guards were injured, one so badly that he required hospitalisation. News24

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