UFS: SAHRC investigates claims of police brutality

The SAHRC is leading the investigation regarding the week-long violence and racial tension at the university.

Protesting University of the Free State students drive back campus security during protests on the institution's main campus in Bloemfontein on 24 February 2016. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

BLOEMFONTEIN - The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is now investigating claims of police brutality at the University of the Free State (UFS), after officers arrested students who allege that they were not part of a violent protest.

More than 21 students have appeared in the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court, after students tried to vandalise a colonial statue.

Police entered residences and arrested students, who now claim the arrests were made based on the colour of their skin.

WATCH: At least 21 students arrested as protest tensions sore at UFS

The SAHRC is leading the investigation regarding the week-long violence and racial tension among students at the UFS.

The commission's acting Free State head, Buang Jones, says they have received a number of complaints from students accusing police of manhandling them and wrongful arrests.

"We have informed university authorities that we will refer complaints of police brutality to the Independent Investigative Directorate for further investigation."

Police and private security guards employed by management entered residences yesterday, breaking doors and looking for those who have been protesting this week.

Management says classes will resume on Monday, despite threats from Student Representative Council President Lindokuhle Ntuli that they will make the campus ungovernable until Vice Chancellor Jonathan Jansen resigns.

The university's management is meeting with SRC representatives and the SAHRC this afternoon, to discuss alleged police brutality.

The SAHRC is referring claims of police brutality to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) to investigate; while it is also investigating violence at a rugby match on Monday.

Jones says although Jansen will not be present at the meeting; they are demanding some crucial answers from management.

"What happened last night was unwarranted and it shouldn't have happened. We also find other solutions to the problem because it shouldn't have happened."

Yesterday, students tried to vandalise a statue of Martinus Theunis Steyn, but police used stun grenades to disperse students.

Police and security guards went door-to-door searching for the instigators.