| DeurAfriForum

Unrest at UP: Striking employees intimidate, deny students access to main campus

The first day of classes on the main campus of the University of Pretoria (UP) was met with chaos with striking employees denying students access to the campus. AfriForum Youth has sent an urgent letter to the university management imploring them to take action within an hour to stop all forms of intimidation and actions that hinder students’ movement on campus. In addition, the youth organisation maintains that UP management must now ensure students’ safety.

A wage dispute between the trade union Nehawu and UP turned into a protected strike last week. A large number of the campus’s security personnel are also part of the strike, which leaves campus security vulnerable. According to Ronald Peters, manager of AfriForum Youth, UP management had enough time to take the necessary precautions to ensure that the academic year kicks off without problems, that the strike does not interfere with classes and that students’ safety is not compromised by any protest actions.

“UP management must now fulfil their responsibility and ensure that students who want to enter or leave the campus can do so freely and without fear of intimidation. Students’ safety must now be prioritised,” Peters emphasises.

In its urgent letter, AfriForum Youth offered to make private security services available to the university to help ensure the safety of students amid the explosive protest action at UP’s main campus. Meanwhile, the youth organisation is also monitoring the situation at the university’s other campuses.