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Unisa: We did not censor Malema

Unisa’s Martin Ramotshela says they had to protect people on campus.

A screenshot from a video of EFF supporters and members of Nehawu and Sasco, wearing ANC t-shirts, clashing ahead of Julius Malema’s appearance at Unisa on 26 September 2013. Picture: Belinda Moses/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The University of South Africa (Unisa) denied claims that it allowed National Education Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) and South African Students Congress (Sasco) members to act as censors by cancelling a meeting at which Julius Malema was due to speak.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader insisted on speaking on the campus on Thursday despite the ban, which led to scuffles between his supporters, and Sasco and Nehawu.

Unisa's Martin Ramotshela says they only decided to cancel the meeting after their security officers realised it could lead to violence.

"The university has got a responsibility to ensure that it protects its own property. We've got a responsibility to people who are on campus, whether they are students or staff, to ensure their lives are not put at risk."

Ramotshela insisted that they didn't cancel the gathering.

"It was really not safe for any of the groupings to have gathered on campus where they would have clashed, where they would have risked our property and where they would have risked the lives of people. That decision that we took was purely based on that and that alone."

Both Nehawu and Sasco are affiliated to the ANC-led alliance.

This incident will lead to questions about whether Nehawu and Sasco simply used the threat of violence to censor Malema, who wanted to speak on campus in the run-up to the 2014 general elections.