/ 4 February 2014

TUT funding protest goes to court after student evictions

Tut Funding Protest Goes To Court After Student Evictions

Student leaders at the Tshwane University of Technology will take university management to court as part of their on-going protest against funding.

They claim the university has failed to properly follow a court order they obtained after it evicted students from residences following protests over a shortfall of money from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). The court action was due to take place on Tuesday.

"Students might be allowed back into residences but [that] will not take away the fact that the management's actions was a violation of human rights and … undermined the decision of [the] high court," Socialist Youth Movement (SYM) national convenor Elmond Magedi said in a statement.

Student leaders got a court order against the university after it evicted students from residences following protests. It followed similar demonstrations at the Durban University of Technology and the University of Johannesburg. 

The SYM and TUT's Student Representative Council on Saturday obtained an interdict at the high court in Pretoria against the unlawful eviction of students. The university was ordered to pay the costs of the application.

"[The] SYM has maintained that Professor [Nthabiseng] Ogude [the vice chancellor and principal] acted illegally in ordering the evictions in the first place," said Magedi.

Magedi demanded a public apology and the suspension of executive managers who "deliberately defied" the court ruling.

He called for students to continue protesting as the court interdict did not stop them from doing so but merely restricted the disruption of academic activities.

Campuses reopen
On Monday, the protest-hit institution announced it would reopen all its campuses this week.

When the university suspended classes last Thursday, it evicted students from the institution's residences and obtained a court order to stop protests at its campuses.

TUT spokesperson Willa de Ruyter said on Monday security had been tightened at all campuses and the registration period was extended.

"In order to ensure no students are disadvantaged by the recent events unfolding at the university, students will be allowed to register without penalties until February 14. Further to this, TUT's online registration system is also accessible 24 hours a day," she said.

Students would be handed a copy of the court interdict and action would be taken against anyone who transgressed it. De Ruyter could not be reached for comment on Tuesday regarding the students' court action. – Sapa