THE University of Johannesburg and student Mpho Mphahlele (21) are playing the blame game after videos went viral of security choking the young man on his graduation day.
The UJ student told Daily Sun he was stopped by security when he arrived at the ceremony at the UJ Kingsway Campus in Auckland Park last Wednesday.
“They manhandled and strangled me in front of my parents. I saw some students demonstrating over student accommodation but I was not part of them,” he claimed.
Mpho said he passed the first line of security, but someone grabbed him by the neck when he passed the second line of guards.
When he asked why he was being stopped, he was told he was not allowed to go into the auditorium.
“What saddens me the most is that my parents and younger brother were pepper sprayed,” he claimed.
However, university spokesman Lebogang Sydney had another story to tell.
“The university learned of threats Mpho was making. The threats were about intensifying planned action to disrupt the graduation ceremony,” said Sydney.
He claimed close to the day of the ceremony, the threat of disruption grew to a threat of violence.
“In its assessment, the university decided to apply strict access control to campus and the graduation venue.”
The Sunday before graduation, Mpho posted the following on his Facebook page: “Tshilidzi Marwala (UJ vice-chancellor) must know that on Wednesday, UJ will be met with 1976 Soweto Uprising and 2014 Ethiopia Oromo Student-Community Protest.”
Sydney said just before the graduation started, Mpho was demonstrating at the venue and made it clear he was not prepared to listen to the university’s call to co-operate.