ACDP condemns arrest of students protesting against UFS’s vaccine mandate

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The ACDP has condemned the arrest of students from the University of the Free States who were protesting against the implementation of the university’s mandatory vaccine policy.

Three people, including two students, have been arrested and charged with public violence following demonstrations outside the gate of the main campus in Bloemfontein.

The new policy requires that students and staff produce a vaccination certificate to gain entrance.

The unvaccinated are required to apply for an exemption and undergo a weekly COVID-19 test with negative results to gain access to the campus.

ACDP leader, Kenneth Meshoe says the constitutional rights of students are seriously being violated.

“We are very disappointed to hear reports that the University of the Free State Students have been arrested for protesting against the implementation of the mandatory vaccination policy. Section 12(2)(c) of the South African constitution is now being trampled upon by the government through its police officers. And that section 12 (2)(c), guarantees everyone that they have the right not to be subjected to medical or scientific experiments without their informed consent. The ACDP condemns the display of dictatorship and tyranny by the government and the police. And demands that the former Apartheid University (of the Free State) that used to deny access and the right of Black students to study at that institution, to stop perpetuating another form of Apartheid based on one’s form of vaccination status.”


“All universities in South Africa must allow all students who want to study regardless of their vaccination status on the campuses. I want to remind you again that the President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa said in February 2021 (that) nobody will be forced to take the vaccine. And nobody will be disallowed access into any school or university. Therefore what the University of the Free State is doing must be condemned in the possible strongest terms,” stressed Meshoe.


On 1 February 2021, President Ramaphosa told the nation that it was a dangerous and false rumour that vaccination will be forced on citizens or that citizens will be denied access to institutions of learning and public spaces. He made the announcement on the day when the first consignment of COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccines arrived from India at the OR Tambo International Airport.

“It is in the best interests of all that as many of us receive the vaccine as possible. But I want to be clear, nobody will be forced to take this vaccine. I want to repeat, nobody will be forced to take this vaccine. Nobody will be forbidden from travelling to wherever they want to travel to, including from enrolling at school or from taking part in any public activity if they have not been vaccinated. Nobody will be given this vaccine against their will, nor will the vaccine be administered in secret or in some dark corners. Any rumours to this effect are both false and dangerous. And we would like those who are spreading those rumours to stop,” Ramaphosa emphasised.

University of Free State students protest against vaccine mandate: 

In the video below Ramaphosa adresses the nation where he mentioned that vaccine will not be forced:

Vaccines arrived in South Africa at OR Tambo on 1 February 2021 received by Ramaphosa and Mabuza: