North West University’s Mahikeng campus calm after protests

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Relative calm has returned to the North West University’s Mahikeng campus. Roads that lead to the campus have been partially cleared after they were barricaded following protests over financial exclusion. Some students have begun leaving after university management closed the campus due to non-compliance with COVID-19 regulations and staff being prevented from entering the campus.

It is three days into the national shutdown against financial exclusion and the campus is officially closed.

This leaves many students at their wits’ end.

“ I am leaving because we were told to leave the campus because of all the strikes and the violence that has occurred. It’s so frustrating. I am tired right now. We also have a lot of work to do but I understand the cause that they are fighting for,” says one of the students.

Another student says; “I am a cash-paying student and I don’t have money to go back home. They want us to go back home, to vacate campus by which is frustrating for some of us because we stay far away in Limpopo.”

While the barricades set up by protesting students have been partially cleared, student leaders remain defiant.

“There is no student which will go. We are working on a court interdict now. There is no student which will vacate campus. They are tampering with the budget of the students because they have already bought groceries, there are those who just landed from the furthest countries as we have mentioned yesterday,” says EFF Student Command’s Jeso Motlhanke.

South African Students Congress’ Bontle Kgari is adamant they will not back down.

“We are still on the same track. We want all debts scrapped, we want all outstanding fees to be scrapped. We want to register for free.”

Students vow to continue protesting until their demands are met: 

University management says the campus will remain closed until further notice while registration has been extended until 26  March.