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SAHRC: Don’t underestimate UFS's racial tensions

Commission officials are at the Bloemfontein campus speaking to students, management and protesters.

A student holds up a placard during demonstrations at the University of the Free State main campus in Bloemfontein on 23 February 2016. PIcture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.
University of the Free State UFS,UFS brawl,black student attacked at UFS
Local

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Human Rights Commission says racial tensions among students at the University of the Free State must not be underestimated as they have the potential to escalate.

Commission officials are at the Bloemfontein campus speaking to students, management and protesting workers as they investigate fights that broke out at a rugby game on Monday.

Classes remain suspended until Monday due to safety concerns.

Two days after a fights broke out between protesters and rugby players during a game the commission’s Buang Jones is warning it will take some time to resolve the underlying racial tensions at the university.

“No one predicted that the Fees Must Fall campaign will continue; who knows what’s going to be the next big thing to happen in the country.”

Meanwhile, students on campus are calling for Vice Chancellor Jonathan Jansen to resign.

“This is not the first time we are protesting. He just promises us things that he doesn’t do.”

Earlier protesters disrupted a prayer session held my students from all races, but police intervened.

Meanwhile, protesters have chased a man off campus after he tried to place a statue of apartheid leader CR Swart, back in its original place.

The statue had been damaged during protest action earlier this week.

A statue of former apartheid era leader CR swart was vandalised on the University of the Free State main campus in Bloemfontein during demonstrations by students and campus employees. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

Security intervened and the man escaped unharmed.

On Monday, spectators at a rugby game, fought with protesters after they disrupted the match as part of their call for an end to outsourcing.

WATCH: UFS Rugby match brawl

Wikus Botha says he meant no harm when he entered campus to place a statue back in its usual place next to the law faculty.

“I personally know the daughter of CR Swart, Tannie Steyn, they can call him a racist. He had no racism. Even Tannie Steyn has no racism.”

He says he also tried to engage with students about the protest action.

“Eighty-ninety percent of us South Africans are good people; but we are not going to do anything. The small minority is going to consume us and we are going to look around and say ‘but how did this all happen, when and why?’”

Security intervened and police told him to stop fuelling tensions.

LISTEN:#UFS vice-chancellor speaks out after brawl

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)

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