More campuses suspend classes

Derrick Spies and News24 Correspondent

Port Elizabeth - The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and North West University's (NWU) Potchefstroom campuses have cancelled all lectures and academic activities for the day following the ongoing #Feesmustfall protests at the Summerstrand Campus.

NMMU Vice-Chancellor Derrick Swartz said given the volatile situation created by demonstrators, Friday's lectures were cancelled to allow them to restore levels of security at all campuses to "an acceptable level of safety ... and re-opening all our campuses for resumption of lectures and academic activities on Monday".

In his statement, Swartz condemned the actions of the #Feesmustfall organisers, saying they were increasingly pushing the boundaries of protest beyond the realm of peaceful conduct.

"Some of these students... decided to disrupt classes [on Thursday] by invading several lecture rooms and the South Campus library, effectively forcing students and staff to vacate and end proceedings.

"This disturbs me deeply. The rights enshrined in our Constitution are indivisible - one cannot choose which rights to uphold, and which to ignore when it suits one. The rights of peaceful protests cannot override the rights of others not to protest and to get on with their lives. If we fail to uphold this cardinal principle, our country and University are in deep trouble and it augurs badly for the future. Students must learn this," said Swartz.

NWU also cited safety concerns for their decision to temporarily close down their Potchefstroon campus.

"According to information, we can expect disruptions at the campus on Friday from about 07:00.

The University has all necessary security measures in place to manage the situation. Regarding the safety of students of campus residences who are not able to leave the campus, the necessary arrangements will be made," the statement read.