A case of public violence and malicious damage to property has been opened after a Police vehicle reportedly got damaged in an incident at Tshwane University of Technology’s (TUT) Polokwane Campus in the early hours of this morning.
According to Provincial Police Spokesperson Ronel Otto, Police were patrolling the area when receiving reports from campus security at around 02:00 about brewing tension among the parties involved in the ongoing Student Representative Council (SRC) elections. Upon entering the premises the rear window of a Police vehicle had been shattered as stones were being hurled, she indicated.
Otto said representatives of the parties involved had subsequently been interrogated. No arrests had been made and the case was under investigation, Otto concluded.
When approached for comment to clarify information of alleged Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) involvement, EFF Provincial Secretary Jossey Buthane explained he was on the premises with members of the provincial and Capricorn region leadership at the time. He presumed South African Students Congress (Sasco), affiliated to the ruling party, did not want to accept the fact that the EFF Students’ Command in a merger with the Democratic Alliance Students Organisation (Daso) won by a single seat on the SRC and was of the opinion that the reported violence was as a result thereof. He claimed that they had been harassed by Sasco and the Police, who did not arrest Sasco members for damages to the Police vehicle.
According to DA Provincial Leader Jacques Smalle the party was engaged in negotiations over a possible merger with either the EFF Students’ Command or Sasco, but at this stage it seemed as if they might side with the EFF Students’ Command for majority seats. He quoted the final count of votes as 28 for Cope Student Movement (CSM), 42 for Students Christian Organisation (SCO), 118 for Daso, 336 for the EFF and 344 for Sasco.
Sasco’s TUT Polokwane Campus Chairperson Emmanuel Mongwe denied that Sasco had been responsible for any violence. He pointed out that the EFF Students’ Command had convened outsiders to intimidate students during the past week’s campaigning. According to him they were not fighting the EFF. He likened the EFF’s win-or-nothing behaviour to hooliganism. According to him Sasco took 344 votes, the EFF 333, Daso 110, SCO 68 and CSM 28.
In the meantime TUT Polokwane Campus Director Walter Tshamano said he was still awaiting a security report on the incident before formally commenting. He said if there was a need to take corrective measures the university should be able to do so, not with the aim of punishing but building the students. No formal SRC results had been announced as yet as the outcome would probably be announced on Monday, he said. Tshamano confirmed that the main contenders for seats on the SRC of TUT Polokwane Campus were the EFF, Sasco and Daso.