Security has been beefed up the Mthatha campuses of the Walter Sisulu University (WSU) in the Eastern Cape. Armed security guards are deployed on-site.

The security measures are in place after violent protests at the university this week.

The students have issues regarding the allocation of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), registration as well as a graduation ceremony.

Students evicted from campuses 

On Tuesday students were evicted from both Nelson Mandela Drive and Zamukulungisa Heights campuses. More than 100 students spent the night at the OR Tambo Hall in Southernwood.

They were evicted from campus after the closure of the university. They want to return to gather their belongings.

Some students like Nontobeko Zoko and Sthelesihle Skhosana come from other provinces and neighbouring countries and have nowhere to go.

“They came and unexpected and they said we have less than 10 minutes to evict the residences. What can you grab in 10 minutes because they are here at the door,  kicking it? You are going to grab little things like clothes and a backpack. We left important things, toothpaste,  teeth brushes, ID copies, statements in my room. So, I’m frustrated. There’s nothing I can do. I don’t have money to go home. I don’t even know the kilometres from here Eastern Cape up until Swaziland.”

Another student says “Some of us are on periods. We do not have anything to wear. We got four packs of sanitary towels yesterday from the guy who bought us food. There’s no one who can buy that for us and we need to bathe. There is no water here. We slept on the mat that is on the top floor. It was so painful because we got shot. Yesterday I got shot at on back and two bullets on my leg. So, it was so painful.”

Students from Mthatha Campus spent the night at OR Tambo Hall: 

Clash between police and students 

The students maintain they did not set the police nyala on fire. Student Representative Council president at the Mthatha campus, Litha Ngalonkulu denies the students were hostile towards the police.

“We marched from NMD to ZMK and we returned to NMD. Upon our way return to NMD the police shot fire at students then the students used stones.  There were no reasons for us to be shot. There is a circulating rumour that students torched the police vehicle which is unfortunately not true. In the report that was done for the Premier of Eastern Cape, they stated that the hippo, we call it the hippo they call it inyala that it had battery problems.”

Ngalonkulu says they are still waiting for the university’s response to their demands. “We want students to be allowed to go and check their packages at the residences, to go and check their rooms. ”

The university has shut down the campus after violent protests on Monday:

Arrests   

Three students were initially arrested in connection with the violent protest. Two were later released. Police spokesperson, Vish Naidoo, says one remains in custody.

“The student was allegedly part of a group of protesters of which some allegedly attacked the SAPS  members, injuring four police officers and burning the nyala. The national police commissioner had initially directed that the SAPS provincial management to mobilise a 72hr activation plan which culminated in the arrest of the student. The student was arrested yesterday on the N2 highway near Walter Sisulu University. More arrests are imminent.”

The Walter Sisulu University management says they are still engaging with students to find an amicable solution to the impasse.

Last week students also protested at the University’s Butterworth and East London campuses about financial exclusion issues.