The Grahamstown High Court, on Friday (24 March 2017), dismissed with costs an application for leave to appeal by students named as 4th, 5th and 6th respondents against a 2016 interdict granted by the same court.
The students are interdicted and restrained from kidnapping, assaulting, threatening, intimidating and inciting violence in respect of any member of the university community on campus.
The interdict further restrains the students from destroying or damaging University property. Two students who were named in the interdict were further restrained from disrupting lectures and tutorials; and from inciting such disruption and a further student restrained from interfering with free movement on or off the campus.
In dismissing the application to appeal, Justice MJ Lowe stated that there were no prospects for success in appealing the interdict. He found no compelling reasons to grant leave to appeal.
The application for the interdict was not taken lightly. This was not the first option exercised by the University. The application was filed after numerous failed attempts at containing an escalating and volatile situation on campus and only as a way to safeguard the safety and security of its community and property.
The university urges everyone to embrace a culture where disputes and disagreement are resolved through reasoned debate, rational argument and open engagement – without fear or favour.
It is with the above in mind that the university notes with concern last weekend’s mobilisation of students, in particular at Joe Slovo residence, to deal with “rapists.” Such activities could easily spiral out of control and risk serious implications for all involved.
We are a constitutional democracy and we cannot operate outside the prescripts of the law. Students and staff are encouraged and supported to report all matters of concern for resolution through the legitimate structures in the university. Where this approach is followed, we continue to see positive results.
Prosecution of reported cases, including gender based violence, is implemented without fear or favour in the university with due regard for the law and rights of all involved, especially the survivors.
Since last year completed cases resulted in the exclusion of the perpetrators from the University. In addition, the academic records of the perpetrators were endorsed.
Consequence management is an important safeguard against chaos and anarchy.
Every member of the University community has a responsibility to work through legitimate structures provided for in policy and law to ensure that justice is served and that the rights of all are respected and upheld.