AFRICANGLOBE – AfriForum Youth -a white supremacist lobby group- has hired a private security company to beef-up safety at the Elsenburg Agricultural College following violent protests on the Western Cape campus.
The college has been hit by language policy protests since Monday. The situation turned violent on Tuesday morning as protesters exchanged blows with non-protesting students.
The clash was recorded on cellphone by a student. AfriForum Youth claims several non-protesting students were injured.
“The security company will be at the campus before the end of day. We don’t intend to take over the campus but we want to protect non-protesting students from these hooligans. College management has totally lost control of the situation, that is why we are stepping in,” said AfriForum Youth national chairman Henk Maree.
Elsenburg Agricultural College head of communications, Petro van Rhyn, confirmed the clash but said there was no need for AfriForum Youth to hire a private security company because the institution “has normalised the situation”.
Van Rhyn said security would be bolstered and an interdict would be secured to protect students rights and to ensure classes continued without interruption.
“The situation is back to normal. Police are monitoring the campus to prevent further intimidation or violence among students. We have also taken the legal route to protect the right to education. We believe that differences should be resolved through discussion and not violence,” said Van Rhyn.
No arrests have been made and classes had resumed by 11:00 am, according to Van Rhyn.
Referring to the language issue, Van Rhyn said that progress has been made on language policy and a task team had been set up to discuss this policy.
In the short term, lecturers would be duplicated and classes would be lengthened to accommodate their being taught in English and Afrikaans.
In the medium term, a new language policy would be introduced, which would be implemented in January 2016.
Van Rhyn said that students were aware of the new language policy, but a small group wanting to be taught only in English were still opposing it.
The language policies of Stellenbosch University have come under scrutiny after a documentary titled Luister was made public.
The documentary detailed Black students plight at the University, as they faced racism and an unfair language policy.
Elsenburg falls under the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, and it’s degree courses are supported by the University of Stellenbosch.