Rorisang Kgosana
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
19 Feb 2016
9:22 am

UP suspends academic activities

Rorisang Kgosana

Students are protesting over the university's language policy, among other issues.

University of Pretoria building. Picture: Supplied

The University of Pretoria shut down its Hatfield and Groenkloof campuses on Friday amid #AfrikaansMustFall protests by various student organisations.

Spokesperson Anna-Retha Bouwer said the move came after threats that academic activity would be disrupted.

“It is also to allow time for consultation with the student leaders so that a solution to the current situation can be reached,” she said.

Bouwer said the university had obtained a court order prohibiting unlawful protest action by members of the Economic Freedom Fighters student command (EFFSC), Afriforum and Afriforum Youth, Rekord East reported.

The university has been marred with protest action as student voice their unhappiness about the language policy and insufficient residence accommodation. The EFFSC has been leading demonstrations since campus resumed last month.
They want the university to demolish all learning in Afrikaans and only have English as a medium of communication.

“We tried to negotiate with the university but we were interrupted. All we want is for the university to tell us that there is no longer Afrikaans. Our protests will continue,” he told Rekord.

EFFSC leader Kabelo Mahlobogwane said members would ensure that the university remained shut until their demands were met. He further claimed that some of the members had been assaulted by members of AfriForum Youth.

“Many were assaulted by these Afriforum members who were not even invited to the meeting. They did it in front of everyone,” he said.
Afriforum Youth national project co-ordinator Morne Mostert said he was not aware of the assault claims.
“We had a peaceful protest at the university and I didn’t see any assault. The EFFSC tried to shut us out of the meeting.”
Mostert said Afrikaans students were taking a stand for the language.
“As Afriforum, we have submitted a memorandum to the university as we believe in the importance of mother-tongue education. We asked the university to also include Sepedi as an academic language.”
The EFFSC said it would make the university ungovernable until Afrikaans was scrapped.
University of Pretoria spokesperson Anna-Retha Bouwer said the language policy would be reviewed and a meeting would be held on Friday.