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Fri Sep 30 01:52:54 SAST 2016

Wits confirms arrest of 14 people on campus

TMG Digital | 19 February, 2016 16:01
Students at the Wits University (University of the Witwatersrand) in Braamfontein.
Image by: Gallo Images/City Press/Yandisa Monakali

The University of the Witwatersrand has confirmed that 14 people were arrested and taken to the Hillbrow Police Station on Friday afternoon for violating a court order which the university obtained earlier this year.

“Some of these individuals‚ not all of whom are students‚ have been involved in a number of unlawful activities on our campuses in recent days‚” the university said in a statement.

These criminal activities included the unlawful occupation of the Senate House Concourse‚ attempted arson‚ malicious damage to property‚ the alleged burning of a bus‚ the setting alight of a mattress at the back of a library and the vandalisation of university property‚ it said.

“The safety and security of our staff‚ students and visitors to the campus is paramount and the University was left with no choice but to have these individuals arrested as they posed a threat to the 33‚ 000 students and 5‚000 staff on our campuses.

“In line with the University’s rules‚ policies and procedures‚ some members of the group‚ may also be suspended and/or barred from our campuses‚” the university’s management added.

“There are some that argue that the University is criminalising protest. This is completely untrue. The activities that we have witnessed in recent days are criminal‚ and we are responding accordingly. As a University we cannot tolerate criminal acts on our campuses‚” it stated.

The university added that given the incidents that had occurred in the last two days‚ it had no option but to once again deploy a strong security contingent throughout its campuses‚ including on its bus routes.

“We are left with no choice but to once again redirect resources away from where it is needed most – accommodation‚ food and support for needy students‚” the university lamented.

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