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Wits condemns violence allegedly caused by students in Braamfontein

15 October 2016 - 16:20 By Nomahlubi Jordaan

The University of the Witwatersrand has condemned the violence that erupted on campus and in Braamfontein on Friday.

“Last night saw wanton destruction in Braamfontein allegedly by some Wits students.

“It is absolutely unacceptable for any individual‚ and especially students from Wits to behave in this manner. We expect that student leaders will now take responsibility and stop the violence‚” the university said on Saturday.

In a statement giving an account of the events of Friday night‚ the institution said the chaos started at the intersections of Jan Smuts and Jorrisen Street.

“Activity started at around 17:30 when a gathering started around the Matrix around the Men’s residence area.

“The group was singing on Hostel Drive‚ armed with stones and the police dispersed them quickly. Some went into Men's Residence while others were pushed out through the Oppenheimer Life Sciences and Jubilee turnstiles. At Jubilee‚ they jumped over the turnstile itself.

  • Neighbourgoods market closed due to #FeesMustFall protestsJohannesburg's Neighbourgoods market will be closed on Saturday following the chaos that saw a building and cars torched in Braamfontein on Friday night during a clash between students and the police.

“A few minutes later they tried to break the Wits fence from outside. The police responded and they ran towards Braamfontein where they were joined by other students from other institutions. This is when serious problems started at the intersection of Jan Smuts Avenue and Jorissen Street‚” the university said.

A Mochachos outlet was vandalized. Picture: Boikhutso Ntsoko

The confrontation between the police and the students happened outside the university‚ the university said.

“The group continued and burnt the garbage area behind the Matrix‚ very close to the gas bottles. The fire took off quickly and the fire department was called and extinguished the fire.

A tow truck set alight. Pictures: Boikhutso Ntsoko

 

“At the same time‚ another fire started at the Professional Development Hub by a petrol bomb thrown into an office. It was taken out quickly through the window. It didn't affect other offices but it was serious.

“The Bozzoli was also hit but was taken out quickly with minimal damage. Another fire truck arrived on the scene to assist. Hofmeyr House was also hit with a petrol bomb. The windows were damaged and the curtains caught fire.

“The group ran into Men’s Residence and more police arrived to patrol the campus. The campus became peaceful and quieter at 10pm.”

According to the university‚ later in the evening the students from Men’s Residence tried to get out but were prevented by the police.

“At David Webster they also tried to get out and they lit a mattress and the police dispersed them.

“At Knockando they also tried to get out and the police pushed back. The students broke a few windows‚” said the university.

The institution said lectures will resume on Monday despite the Friday night chaos.

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