Arson attacks spread to Cape campuses

12 October 2016 - 08:58 By Aphiwe Deklerk, Jan Bornman and Matthew Savides


As tensions continue to simmer at Wits University, violence flared up on campuses in Cape Town. At least one vehicle was set alight and 19 students were arrested at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in violent clashes with the police and contracted security guards yesterday.University spokesman Lauren Kansley said the arrests were made at the Bellville, Cape Town and Mowbray campuses.In Bellville, more than 1000 students gathered outside the administration building demanding to speak to vice-chancellor Prins Nevhutalu but the gathering soon turned violent with students allegedly stoning security guards.Similar incidents unfolded in Cape Town, where students stoned police and private security, who responded by firing plastic pellets, rubber bullets and stun grenades.At Wits, management handed control for security on its campuses to the police, who used a water cannon to disperse students.Wits spokesman Shirona Patel said that despite low attendances classes were resuming."It is unnerving for students in lectures, we know that, but we have to continue as far as possible. We have no choice, otherwise we lose the academic year," she said.Father Graham Pugin, of the Society of Jesus and one of the facilitators of the mediation between students and the university, is recovering after being hit in the face by a police rubber bullet on Monday.In Durban, about 2000 students marched peacefully through the city centre to the city hall, where they handed over a memorandum to the city council's leadership and the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry.Twelve suspended University of Stellenbosch students are entering the third day of their hunger strike. They want the university to lift their suspensions but said they are yet to hear from the management. They were suspended for their involvement in the #FeesMustFall protest on campus, which involved occupying the library.One of the students, Jodi Williams, said they had tried many other ways to engage with the management."We are going on a hunger strike to compel the university to speak to us and lift the suspensions. It's difficult but we need to remain resolute," said Williams.Another student, Phillemon Mogale, said he understood that the hunger strike was hurting him more than the university but it was necessary."They have not been communicating with us and they say we are not supposed to be going to our lectures . Initially we were kicked out of res without warning," said Mogale.He said they were allowed back at the residence only after lawyers intervened.Stellenbosch University spokesman Martin Viljoen said the university was aware of the hunger strikes but he could not say if the management had met the students.

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