Vice Chancellor of University of Johannesburg, Ihron Rensburg, has apologised to students and journalists over security guards’ brutality during the FeesMustFall protests.
The private company Fidelity has come under fierce criticism after several journalists and students were pepper sprayed, and some beaten, outside UJ’s Doornfontein Campus by their guards.
There were two separate instances where private security guards were recorded physically assaulting students on and off campus after a week of protests.
Rensburg has apologised to students and journalists, saying the incidents were regrettable. He said the university was talking to Fidelity to understand what had happened.
“It is an unconditional apology to the journalists, and obviously students as well, and of course the bystanders. I spoke to some of the journalists – who were still very upset, understandably so – and am stunned at what happened.
“I am equally stunned and disappointed that notwithstanding carefully laid out plans and agreements, that things can go awry so quickly. So, from our point of view, it is my sincere apology and regret.”
Van Rensburg said they needed to beef up security to protect 99% of the students continuing with academic activity.
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Tension has heightened at various universities since Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande announced that poor students would not be slapped with a fee increase but recommended an 8% increase for students whose parents earned more than R600 000 per annum.