Johannesburg - University of Johannesburg students have been assaulted by private security guards while protesting over the outsourcing of workers.
Students across the country have complained about the increased repression they are facing from both the state and their own university management structures.
Students and outsourced workers, including cleaners and gardeners, gathered at the Kingsway campus on Thursday morning to protest. The main entrance to the campus was locked. Those protesting inside couldn't leave premises and those on the outside couldn't enter.
The private security guards told protesters to disperse and when they didn't, assaulted them with batons and pepper sprayed them.
Students and workers were punched and dragged by the private guards.
Police officers were locked out of the gate and could only watch the assaults.
— Matshidiso Madia (@tshidi_lee) November 5, 2015
One student was rushed to hospital when she had breathing complications because of the pepper spray. Two workers, including one who is epileptic, were also taken to hospital.
Earlier this week, on Monday, the private security guards assaulted students and workers when they staged a sit-in at vice-chancellor Ihron Rensburg's office.
Outgoing student representative council president Khutso Rammutla said he was served with a suspension letter on Thursday morning.
“I didn't accept it. They can suspend me from the university but I still represent students,” Rammutla said.
He said their demands now include negotiating the registration fee for returning students and financial exclusion.
“Ihron Rensburg must come down and address us. He must listen to us because we aren't going anywhere,” Rammutla said.
Earlier on Thursday a photograph of a student at UJ, who was allegedly assaulted by Fidentia “bouncers”, was circulated on social media.
His photo showed a defiant fist raised – but his pants were splattered in blood.
On Wednesday a UJ student contacted IOL saying students were being singled out and assaulted by the campus’s private security company.
Students want an end to outsourcing, with lower-paid workers receiving the same benefits as academic staff, including fee-dispensations for their children, medical aid and pension contributions from university management.
UJ management are set to hold a media briefing at 3pm.
Labour Bureau and The Star