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This article appeared in the Herald of 8 October 2016.

ZEBRAS appear to have become an endangered species at NMMU and are bizarrely under threat from certain protesting students who see them as potential hostages in bargaining negotiations with management.

It may not have been written down in black and white and could well be a tongue-in-cheek prank, but social media was abuzz yesterday with voice messages purportedly from students threatening the zebras which roam a nature reserve on university land.

In one of the messages, a voice says: “I think it’s time we take those zebras, capture several zebras. Every day we take one zebra and tell management if you don’t do what we say, we will deal with this zebra accordingly.”

NMMU spokeswoman Zandile Mbabela said the university was aware of the “threat” to the zebras, which was probably a tongue-in-cheek joke.

“This aside, the zebra herd on our reserve has a number of babies right now, so are particularly protective. Anyone who tries to approach them right now will be putting themselves in danger.

“Our conservation officer is on duty and aware of the threat,” she said.

SPCA Uitenhage chairwoman Deidre Swift said she was shocked and appalled to hear what those behind the messages were planning to do.

Swift said the area fell under the nature conservation unit of the municipality.

Senior municipal conservation officer Clive Scott said he had received an e-mail about the issue but it first had to be handled by NMMU as the reserve was the university’s private land.

“If the institution cannot resolve the issue on their own, then it could be dealt with by us.”

A number of the voice messages allegedly recorded by students of the #FeesMustFall movement detailed plans to continue the shutdown of NMMU until their demands were met.

The messages were apparently posted on social media in response to NMMU’s announcement that its operations were set to resume. 

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777