The vice-chancellor of the University of Free State (UFS) Professor Jonathan Jansen said he received death threats from some group who claimed he had discriminated against races in the university.
Speaking to News24, the vice-chancellor said the threats and accusations laid on him by both the white and black race were unfair lies.
“I have been accused of putting black student’s interests above the white students, and I am also accused of putting white student’s interests above blacks. It is all lies, and I think it is the kind of thing people say to unsettle you,” he said.
The vice-chancellor, who was present at the Shimla Park Stadium in Bloemfontein to watch a Varsity Cup match between the UFS and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), was taken by surprise when groups of protesters and some students barged into the stadium and disrupted the match taking each other on in a fight.
The protesters were later said to have been overpowered by spectators who chased them off the field with strong beatings.
Meanwhile, the president of the Students Representative Council (SRC), Lindokuhle Ntuli accused vice-chancellor Jansen of not doing anything to stop the brutal beating of the protesters.
Ntuli pointed out that they were determined to cause the disruption at the stadium so that their grievance would be heard by the University authorities.
“We won’t stop until we are heard. Last night we were not armed and we did not go there to fight, but white parents and their children came in numbers and beat us, and to make matters worse, our vice-chancellor sat there and watched his favorite white people beat us up,” he said.
He added that a number of workers who were beaten by the whites have been taken to hospital for medical attention.
One of the protesters who was beaten, Bongani Mazula said he sustained a bruise on his arm and a swollen eye. “There were 50 people who were on top of me yesterday and our motive was not to fight,” he said.
In response to Ntuli’s statement, Jansen said he couldn’t have done anything. “We just stood there and stared at each other, I have never in my life felt so terrified”.
The senior leadership of the university condemned the violent attack of the protesters by saying “nobody has the right to take the law into their own hands”‚ and an “urgent investigation is underway‚ using footage from the event”. The university is however leaving no stone unturned to ensure that perpetrators of such violent acts against the protesters are brought to book.