Court interdicts three students from acting illegally
Only three Walter Sisulu University students were on Tuesday interdicted from acting illegally in ongoing protests that have been characterised by violence at three of the university’s campuses.
The university sought an interdict against the general student body to prohibit incidents of damage and theft of property‚ assault and the disruption of academic activities at its Butterworth‚ Mthatha and Buffalo City campuses.
But‚ even though the matter was unopposed in the Grahamstown High Court‚ Judge Jeremy Pickering wanted the university to address him on an earlier judgment in terms of which the court in 2016 denied Rhodes University a general interdict against people identified only as “students”.
In that particular matter Rhodes had identified the students against which it wanted an interdict as “students engaging in unlawful activities” during protests against sexual violence. Judge Murray Lowe ruled this identification of the group as “absurdly wide”. He said a blanket order against all student protesters regardless of their intention and participation in unlawful conduct was unsupportable.
In the WSU matter the students are defined even more widely as the “general student body”.
WSU‚ for the time being‚ settled for an interim interdict prohibiting the three campus leaders‚ Siphelo Mkhuzangwe‚ Mxolisi Zoko and Vuyo Langeni‚from damaging or stealing university property‚ assaulting staff or students or enticing others to act illegally.
Mkhuzangwe is cited twice in court papers‚ once in his capacity as SRC president and again in his capacity as SRC head representing Butterworth campus.
Correspondent attorney for WSU Mark Nettelton at midday told the Dispatch they intended having the matter called again in court so that they could argue in favour of an interdict against the general student body.
At the time of writing‚ they were waiting to find out what time the judge was available to hear argument.
Court papers say WSU had been forced to shut down three of its four campuses following student protests that has‚ in the past few weeks‚ resulted in millions of rand worth of damage to university property on three of its campuses and left staff and some students reportedly fearing for their lives.
Photographs and videos of students burning a car and damaging property show most students wearing balaclavas‚ making identification of individuals almost impossible.