Nehawu protestors cause fire at Onderstepoort campus

On 26 May, a group of protestors set fire to animal feed at the Onderstepoort Veterinary campus.

In an email sent to Onderstepoort students, Professor Dietmar Holm, deputy Dean for teaching and learning in the Faculty of Veterinary Science, reassured students that the animals on campus were safe. In the email Prof. Holm said, “All fires have been stopped, [the] animals are safe, and [the] animals are being fed and watered.” Prof. Holm told Perdeby that around 50 workers were part of the group that started small fires across the campus. Prof. Holm added that no estimates of damages have been made thus far.

Read more: Nehawu protestors cause fire at Onderstepoort campus

Mass meeting at UP


On 18 May, the Temporary Student Committee (TSC) hosted a mass meeting at the Piazza on UP’s Hatfield campus to address student grievances. The gathering was the result of various student bodies and political organisations coming together to petition for the TSC to engage with students. Together, they are known as the UP Student Commission.
Thabo Shingange, the TSC’s deputy chairperson, opened the meeting. In light of the national crisis of female sexual assault, particularly that of the black woman, he stressed his disapproval of UP’s sexual harassment policy. Calling it “flawed and problematic”, he said that those who are offended by those speaking out against issues such as hyper-masculinity and rape are the “very beneficiaries of patriarchy” at the institution.

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Serrie 2017 cancelled


Following a social media outburst condemning derogatory and sexist posters shown at Serrie prelims, STUKU announced on its Facebook page that the 2017 Serrie finals have been cancelled. According to Temporary Student Committee (TSC) President Henrico Barnard, the decision to cancel Serrie was taken this afternoon at a meeting between the TSC, the Department of Student Affairs and STUKU (Student Culture).

Several student leaders took to Facebook to express their opinions on the matter. TSC Deputy President Thabo Shingange said “We are pleased to inform that Serrie Finals have been cancelled, we need to uproot this culture #UPRapeCrisis #MenAreTrash.” Former SRC member for residences Michael Bongani Reinders condemned the incident referring to it as the “epitome of the perpetuation of toxic masculinity and misogyny.”

In a statement by STUKU it confirmed that the Serrie Finals had been cancelled. "The decision  was not easy and was made after long deliberation and consultation with various stakeholders...," the statement read. It added that "The decision was made in the best interests of the students and the University community as an institution of higher learning." The statement also said that STUKU would rely on the student body to ensure that future student culture events would not be marred by a repeat of insensitive, disrespectful or offensive behaviour. 

Read more: Serrie 2017 cancelled

Women protest against rape at UP


On 16 May, approximately 100 female students protested on UP’s Hatfield campus. The protest was part of a campaign called “UP safety is a lie”.

Perdeby spoke to some of the protestors, who preferred to be identified as “All women on campus”. They said, “We decided to come together because we are tired of this institution (UP) not protecting us and not protecting our interests. We are unsafe in this space. Women are getting raped, women are getting sexually violated in their own residences.”

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Alleged kidnapping 12 May


What seems to have been a domestic dispute in Hatfield, left students at UP fearing for their safety after a social media storm erupted spreading false information.
On 11 May around midnight, National Media Liaison of the Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command, Naledi Chirwa tweeted, “A woman was abducted at gunpoint at McDonald’s Hatfield. Please call your sisters, friends, daughters who attend UP, live in the area.” A student who witnessed the altercation said, “around 19:30 in McDonald’s I saw people running for their lives,” adding that “you can see that they were running from something and it looked really serious, most of them were dressed in their pajamas”. Lindokuhle Segage, a BA Law student at UP confirmed that she had seen “a commotion” (near the Fields) with a group of girls in their pajamas.The eyewitness said that they had seen two men running, who were perceived to have “a weapon to use it on the large group of people, who ran for their lives”. Danie Basson, CID Chief Operation Officer confirmed it was “a domestic dispute with a third party involved. No cases opened. No kidnapping…”

Read more: Alleged kidnapping 12 May

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