Cape varsity descends into nightly war zone

26 October 2016 - 08:56 By ARON HYMAN

The Cape Peninsula University of Technology's Bellville campus exploded into a war zone yesterday. Staff have evacuated their offices and scores of students remain trapped in their rooms as protesters, security guards and police clash almost every evening.Bewildered students, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they were intimidated by ringleaders to join the protests."In the morning they come and bang the doors with pepper spray, even the fire extinguishers."They ask us 'why are you sleeping but we are fighting for all students'," said a third-year student.Students have stayed in their residences, hoping the academic programme will resume. Four cars were torched and the police's mobile operations centre on campus was attacked on Monday. Police have failed to respond to queries.Student protesters claimed yesterday they had a radio and were monitoring police and security frequencies.They also accused the security companies of using "Congolese child soldiers" and of being "agents of the apartheid regime".Students have taken over several residences. They burn their rubbish since cleaning services have been halted.According to two sources, protesters have even intimidated catering staff into providing food.Piles of rubble are used as barricades on roads. One student activist pointed to a rubbish heap nearby and said: "We take out the rubbish, but some rubbish we keep to be burnt when the police come."The protesters warned that FeesMustFall was just the beginning."Everybody knows that the free, decolonised education is just the start. Once we have achieved that we are going to call for the land to be taken," he said.A group of protesters agreed that vice-chancellor Prins Nevhutalu was a "witch" and said he "must die".University spokesman Lauren Kansley confirmed that residences were discussed "at length" at a meeting yesterday, but it was not clear whether they would be closed.Staff, including cleaners and security officials, are not prepared to enter the buildings, and services have stopped.

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