Interdict case postponed

A matter between Rhodes University and three students together with a group of university staff members has been postponed to a possible date of 3 November by the Grahamstown High Court. 

The matter concerns the interim interdict imposed in April following protests on campus against rape culture, and unrest sparked by the publication on social media of the so-called #RU Reference List.

Rhodes University was granted an interim interdict forbidding engagement in unlawful activities including kidnapping, assault, threats and intimidation. 

In May the approximately 38 Rhodes University staff members, including academics, were granted leave by the high court to intervene. 

The staff members were asked by the court to file an answering affidavit on why the interim court interdict should be set aside.
In July the three students and the Concerned Staff Group filed their answering affidavits as required by the court.
In their affidavit they 
stated that their interest in the matter arose from what they termed the vagueness and broadness of the interim interdict. 

Still in the affidavit they claimed that the interdict could also be used to threaten staff who were engaging with students regarding their concerns regarding rape and gender-based violence at Rhodes.

Last week the University filed documents in support of their assertion that the interim court interdict should remain. The University has provided more than 30 affidavits from staff and students as evidence to show that the interdict is necessary.

Descriptions in affidavits from students and staff, including lecturers and senior management, include that events during the protests were violent, disturbing and intimidating.

Some students and lecturers have given evidence of being threatened and intimidated by protesters when they attempted to continue attending or giving lectures.

In an emailed statement the Concerned Staff Group said yesterday their legal representative, the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa did not have sufficient time from the date the Rhodes documents were filed, 24 August, to develop a response by the court date of 1 September.

The judge agreed to postpone the matter until the next possible court date (which is 3 November).
The interim interdict remains in place until the court’s decision on 
3 November.

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