The University of Johannesburg (UJ) has obtained an urgent court order to ensure the safety and security of all its stakeholders and property in the wake of recent acts of arson and wanton behaviour on its campuses.
The interdict applies to everyone, including students and staff, participating in, inciting, encouraging or facilitating protest action or demonstrations on its campuses – with the property covered by the order encompassing all UJ premises, residences, libraries, lecture venues, laboratories and any other buildings operated, owned or managed by the University, including off-campus accommodation.
The High Court order, which was granted on Monday 16 May 2016, is binding until 31 May 2016 when respondents will have an opportunity to show cause why the interim relief should not be made final.
Commenting on why the University had approached the courts to obtain the interdict, Ms Tumi Mketi, Senior Executive Director in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor, said recent events at UJ, including Monday morning’s callous arson attack on the Sanlam Auditorium at the Auckland Campus – which caused damage estimated at R100 million – had necessitated the move.
“Irrespective of anyone’s ideological or political orientation, students’ rights to actively initiate, organise and participate in lawful activities of any academic, political, religious and social student organisations are promoted and shall be protected at the University, and the Court Order recognises this.
“Indeed, it remains possible for students to participate in public protests, demonstrations and meetings as long as they do so in terms of the University’s student regulations.
“However, protests or demonstrations which are not conducted in terms of the University’s students regulations may not be held on the University’s campuses or within 100 metres of the entrance to, or boundary of the University’s property, and neither may meetings for the purpose of inciting, encouraging or instigating any protest action or demonstration at or on University premises,” Ms Mketi said.
The following conduct is expressly prohibited by the court order:
• Obstructing or preventing students, staff and visitors from entering and exiting the University;
• Interfering with access control to any of the entrances to the University, or its security systems and installations;
• Disrupting or interfering in any way with the normal activities of the University at any of its campuses – including examinations and tests being written, lectures and tutorials, and the work of the libraries and laboratories;
• Carrying out acts or threats of violence against, or causing damage to UJ property, as well as intimidating, threatening, harassing or harming University employees, students and service providers;
• Interfering in any way with other people’s freedom of movement while on the University campuses;
• Carrying firearms, dangerous weapons, petrol bombs or other incendiary devices or materials; or sjamboks, knobkerries, golf clubs, hammers, assegais, knives or other sharp objects, sticks of any kind at, or within 100 metres of the university property;
• Vandalising, damaging property or illegally occupying any buildings or vehicles at the University; and
• Interfering with the disciplinary hearings of the twelve (12) students currently on suspension.