7 October 2016
Fort Hare University students have been evicted after missing the deadline set by the university to vacate their residences. This followed a court order by the Bhisho High Court on Tuesday which stated that the students could be evicted with immediate effect, on condition that the university found alternative accommodation.
Student Representatives’ Council member Thandikhaya Mathokazi said police came yesterday evening and ordered students to vacate their rooms. He said students were left stranded on the street. “We went to the sports centre where we are now. We (SRC) are busy mobilising food for students and trying to understand the situation we have found ourselves in,” he said.
He accused Fort Hare’s management of not having implemented the court order properly.
Nelisa Tsethu, a Bachelor of Science student from Johannesburg, said students were removed at about 2pm yesterday. She said she had nowhere to go. “If I had money I would have gone home but it is costly to travel home and to return on 11 October, when we have to come back for a meeting with management with our parents,” she said.
Lizo Phithi, Fort Hare’s Stakeholders’ Relations Manager, said after the court ruling the university issued a notice to all students in residence to report to the Student Affairs Office to get forms needed to apply for accommodation. “The notice was clear because we sent it out on Wednesday and the deadline was on Thursday at 11:30. Some students did comply with the notice while some did not and those who did not comply will be evicted as the court ruling stated,” he said.
He said some of students accused the SRC of taking accommodation application forms from them.
“Hence the SRC is in breach of the court order, and from my understanding students that had not applied for alternative accommodation were accommodated at the sports centre for the night.”
Siyanga Matikinca from Alice SAPS said police had evicted students who did not apply for accommodation from their rooms yesterday.
“At the moment, we are at the Alice campus monitoring students as the sheriff and management are addressing students. There is no violence,” she said.
Police are patrolling the area making sure that no student occupies the residences.