In an exclusive on ENCA’s Checkpoint this week, they investigated spies among university students at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). Their job: to find out action planned for fees must fall protests.
According to UJ students, they have noticed people following them. Often students have open debate and discussions on the buses while going between campuses. According to a security guard, Sibusisi, it is their duty to get information off those buses. He spends over twelve hours on buses undercover, investigating what protest action could occur and what students are thinking.
He works for the Bold Heart Group Security services that were hired by UJ to beef up security during protest action. To avoid suspicion the guards on the buses have to blend in with the students, wearing student clothes and carrying bags as well. To record information, they carry pocket notebooks and are required to have their phones on them at all times.
The undercover guards were able to locate and find information on three of the fees must fall leaders and hand that information over to their supervisor. These students were then found and interrogated. Sibusisu said that as an undercover guard he fears what would happen if his cover was revealed. When UJ students on the buses found out about these spies they would keep quiet and say “Let’s finish our exams. But those who are spying on us on the buses, we will fight back and find out who they are.”
While the undercover guards got paid R300 a day, there are no contracts, salary slips or a paper trail to link them to these activities. These undercover guards have since been removed from UJ campuses and instead replaced with Fidelity guards.
UJ students were completely unaware of the private security undercover guards that were deployed. Here are just some of the comments students had on Twitter after news broke that UJ had been using spies.
Since UJ spying on students we need also student cyber team to spy back& expose these criminals. Let the hacks begin#BonginkosiKhanyile
— Railey Luther (@LutherRailey) March 1, 2017
— Yamkela M (@Y_MQWEBEDU) March 1, 2017
#Checkpoint has not revealed anything wait until you hear about rape cases that UJ puts under carpet.
— Land is Ours. (@Ocean5Seshabela) February 28, 2017
— Fidel (@Tshireletsom77) February 28, 2017
Written by Naeemah Dudan