The University of Limpopo’s Turfloop campus has suspended five students after Wednesday’s rioting on campus over a freshers’ ball event.
University spokesman Kgalema Mohuba said yesterday that the five had led a group of students who disrupted lectures and intimidated fellow students and security personnel.
“You cannot disturb teaching and learning simply because you want a freshers’ ball,” said Mohuba.
“Why do you remove students from the library, for example?” he asked.
The freshers’ ball was initially postponed in May for security reasons. This followed a spate of criminal attacks on campus by thugs who preyed on students.
In retaliation, students assaulted a group of men and killed a 24-year-old suspected cellphone thief.
This week, a group of students went on the rampage and demanded that lectures be boycotted until the freshers’ ball was held.
“Disruption of academic activity is a serious offence,” Mohuba said.
“They have been suspended and have been removed from campus. Next week we will charge them and they will go through disciplinary hearings,” he added.
He said the rioting students had also wanted to loot the cafeteria.
Mohuba said the freshers’ ball would be staged, but he could not say when.
Mankweng police spokesman Constable Moses Molepo confirmed that there had been strife at the campus.
“We were called by the university management to restore order,” he said.
No arrests had been made.
Mohuba admitted there were alleged irregularities relating to the appointment of the company that was set to host the ball.
He would not divulge details, but said: “This is a subject of investigation. The service provider is disputing this and he has also served us with papers from the lawyer, that’s why I can’t comment on it now.”
He said the event would be held only after investigations into alleged irregularities had been concluded.
The students representative council also condemned the violence on campus.
SRC president and the ANC Youth League’s branch chairman on campus, Simon Rammutla, labelled the rioters “thugs”.
“(The freshers’) ball is not our primary role here. Our role is to learn, pass and leave,” said Rammutla.
He said the violent students were ANCYL members, but they were not leaders.
“Students must stand up against this kind of misbehaviour,” said Rammutla.
He insisted that the freshers’ ball would be held in the middle of this month.
Mohuba said order had been restored and lectures resumed immediately after the police’s intervention.