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#NWUMafikeng has been shut down indefinitely

Buildings were torched at the North West University Mafikeng campus on Wednesday evening after protests against the inauguration of an interim-SRC earlier in the day resulted in clashes with police and private security. GOPOLANG BOTLHOKWANE reports. 

A statement released by the management of the NWW Mafikeng campus has advised students to leave immediately in the interests of their own safety.

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According to a student on the campus, Harvey Orabile Modiko, the fire on campus began when a group of students set alight an exhibition car in the science centre. The fire then spread to the computer lab, administration building and student ledger.

 

Dissatisfaction among students on the campus can however be traced to questions over student leadership. Students claim the newly appointed SRC, comprising of a students selected by management, are being imposed on them, denying democracy on the campus.

According to students, the SRC elected by the student population and headed by the EFF student command, is still the legitimate student leadership on the campus.  That SRC was however disbanded following complaints that it was dysfunctional.

Significantly, students joined the protests on Wednesday despite conflicting political affiliations and according to eyewitness reports, ANC-aligned students also participated in the protests.The protests against the newly inaugurated SRC however quickly coalesced with other issues faced by students on the campus, as students complained that residences are full as they are used by university staff as well. A motorcycle, said to be owned by the manager of residences on the campus was torched.

 


Students however say they were forced to escalate their protest when their peaceful protest against the new SRC was met with force.

Students say they were peacefully singing struggle songs during the inauguration of the interim SRC when they were attacked by private security. Many claim they did not start the violence but rather were provoked and confronted by the private security brought in by the university. After the announcement of the new SRC students in protest started singing and marching through the campus. And that’s when they were ordered by security to disperse and not disrupt classes. When they cried right to protest and undemocratic elections, security fired rubber bullets and tear gas.

Reports of a student being killed in clashes with police are however not verified.

And speaking to EWN, a spokesperson for the university denied live rounds were used on the protesters.

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