ANGRY students have slammed the police for attacking and arresting them when they voice their concerns.
According to students at the University of the Free State’s QwaQwa campus,, Phuthaditjhaba police have been shooting at them with rubber bullets whenever they protested since 16 May.
The students claimed 13 of them had been arrested so far and seven, who were taken into custody on 17 May, had said theybeen tortured.
The suspects appeared in the Phuthaditjhaba Magistrates Court on Friday, 20 May, on charges of public violence.
The court granted R1 000 bail each to 10 of them, while three were expected to apply for bail on Monday, 30 May.
EFF Student Command chairman Retshedisitswe Makae said: “Students have not been paid their food and accommodation allowances since January. Students renting off campus are being evicted by landlords.
“Some of them are victims of the N+Rule, where Nsfas stops funding them if they have been studying past a certain number of years.” Unfortunately, students of extended programmes are also included.”
SRC deputy president Trinity Mazibuko said the new rule that accommodation funds be sent directly to landlords was causing problems.
“We feel this was not the right time to implement this here on QwaQwa campus, as we are situated in a rural area,” she said.
“Most accommodation does not meet the minimum standard to be accredited, such as providing WiFi and generators.” . They don’t offer generators while the Maluti A Phofong Municipality is experiencing an electricity crisis.”
Trinity said there were also issues with tribalism. with the police and some students were mistreated in custody. “There was even an incident where other student leaders and I had a gun pointed at us in front of the police station for being Zulu speaking,” she said.
Warrant Officer Mmako Mophiring denied the allegations. “Police are entitled to maintain public order and make arrests where necessary,” he said.
The university did not respond to the SunTeam’s queries at the time of going to print.