The University of Fort Hare has won a court interdict against its East London campus students’ representative council (SRC) leadership.
The academic programme has been disrupted as students demand accommodation for about 400 students.
The interim order granted last Friday interdicts the East London SRC as an entity as well as its premier Kwanele Ntantala, secretary-general Ahlomile Mafu and academic officer Dumisa Maputi from intimidating, harassing, threatening, injuring or harming the staff, students, security personnel, any other employee or persons on university property.
The court also forbade them from damaging university property, impeding, hampering, disrupting or in any way interfering with the university’s academic activities and the exercise and the performance of its administrative functions and powers.
On March 20, the court will decide if the order should be made final.
Dean of students Malinge Gqeba said during the last term of 2017 UFH published an invitation to tender for the provision of student accommodation for about 1700 beds.
“Despite its good intentions, the university later learnt that the tender process had been affected by tender irregularities and had to be withdrawn subject to investigations.”
He said the problem was communicated to Ntantala in a meeting held on January 8 between the management of the university and the SRC.
Gqeba said a follow-up meeting had been held on January 30 when it was conveyed to the management of the university that at least 250 additional beds should be sourced for students without accommodation, as all available accommodation was taken.
However, he said for logistical purposes, all the available accommodation should first be filled before further accommodation is arranged.
“The reason for this was that according to the records of the university, approximately 1600 students were registered for accommodation. A total of 3000 beds was available, meaning 1400 beds could be provided to students not so registered,” he said.
He said the management then requested a list of students who were still without accommodation.
“A list containing 249 students was received. Upon verification, it became clear only 33 of the students listed had applied for accommodation during their registration,” he said.
Ntantala said they would comply with the court order.
Students are to have a mass meeting today to discuss a way forward.
University spokesman Khotso Moabi said academic activities would return to normal this morning.
“Management would like to assure staff and students that all the necessary security arrangements have been put in place to ensure the safety of all staff and students,” he said.
Moabi said the management still stood by its commitment to the SRC that it would procure additional accommodation for first-year NSFAS qualifying students without accommodation.
“Based on this commitment, the process of procuring additional accommodation is well underway,” he said.
By Sino Majangaza – DispatchLIVE