A video has surfaced on social media of police officers arresting students outside the University of Free State during a protest against the university’s vaccination policies.
The video showed officers picking and pushing students into a minibus while the students held placards protesting the university’s vaccine policies.
The university is set to enforce its mandatory Covid-19 vaccination policy after a recent court victory. The Supreme Court of Bloemfontein on Friday dismissed Free State for Choice (FS4C)’s injunction request against said policy after finding that FS4C had failed to prove the matter was urgent.
The university has welcomed the ruling and confirmed that it will continue to implement the vaccine policy on Monday.
“While the university management respects the court’s outcome and ruling, the UFS has never believed that the implementation of the policy should be set aside.
“The university confirms the policy stipulations that – from February 14, 2022 – employees, students and visitors must either be vaccinated, in order to have a negative Covid-19 PCR test (not older than one week) on its campus access system if they have not been vaccinated, or have an approved deferral or waiver to access campus.
“The University Board continues to believe that the implementation of the policy is consistent with its prerogative and duty to maintain a safe working and learning environment for its staff, students and visitors,” UFS spokesperson Lacea Loader said in a statement. statement†
Fear of deregistration due to vaccine policy
Last week, some students at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) told The Vanir-exodus that they were afraid of being deregistered before the end of March because of the university’s vaccination policy. This follows a video circulating on social media showing a UJ security guard denying entry to students who have not been vaccinated.
According to a student who wished to remain anonymous for fear of being excluded, the option to test weekly for Covid wouldn’t last long for those who had not been vaccinated and had no medical or religious reasons for not getting the shot.
“Some of us don’t have medical or religious reasons, but very personal reasons that prevent us from making those decisions alone. And the university doesn’t even take that into account,” she says.
“My mother had the jab and then had some complications. How do I explain it, just thinking about it gives me anxiety. I worry that vaccination could be even more dangerous than ever and how do I communicate that to my parents or the university?”
At least eight of the 26 public universities have adopted vaccine mandates for students, employees and visitors, while some institutions have taken a cautious approach by encouraging vaccination rather than imposing mandates.
Tshwane University of Technology spokesman Phaphama Tshisikhawe said it had not yet finalized its vaccination policy, but they would not force anyone to get the injection and are currently encouraging students and staff to get it through vaccine campaigns.
Stellenbosch University also encourages everyone to get vaccinated, as their medical advisory committee recommends.
The University of Cape Town also encouraged unvaccinated staff and students to apply
exemption from the vaccine mandate on narrow medical grounds and based on sincere and intense beliefs based on religion and/or conscience.
“Applications will be reviewed by independent panels and applicants whose applications are rejected have the right to appeal,” said Nombuso Shabalala of UCT.
- Additional reporting by Reitumetse Makwea