WSU's Mthatha campus shut over fears of violence

08 March 2018 - 13:08 By Lulamile Feni
Heavily armed police clash with students at Walter Sisulu University.
Heavily armed police clash with students at Walter Sisulu University.

In light of a number of rampages that led to property damage and putting the lives of students and staff at stake‚ Walter Sisulu University's vice-chancellor professor Rob Midgley decided on Thursday to close the Nelson Mandela Drive (NMD) campus in Mthatha with immediate effect.

''University management is also considering closing the Butterworth and Buffalo City campuses due to student protests. We strongly condemn the violent protest action displayed by students‚” said university spokesperson Yonela Tukwayo.

Mthatha campus students complained about a number of issues‚ among them the online room allocation of student accommodation.

Xhobani Security staff at the Mthatha campus started their own protest when they insisted that three dismissed security personnel be re-employed under WSU. Their protest turned into an uncontrollable unrest‚ where security officers were removed from their posts‚ leading to people getting injured.

A security vehicle was torched at Mthatha campus on Wednesday and guards were injured. ''This left the vice-chancellor with no choice but to halt all administrative and academic activities in order to protect university assets‚'' said Tukwayo.

She said that the Butterworth campus students have cited unhappiness around accommodation and general infrastructure development ''and this has led to them resolving to shut down the campus''.

Buffalo City campus students have cited unhappiness about the new online room allocations.

''Students and staff have been requested to leave the WSU campuses whilst management is busy holding meetings to see how they can negotiate a peaceful reopening. Campus management committees are engaging their SRCs to resolve issues in order to bring normality back to campuses‚'' said Tukwayo.

The SRC at Mthatha campus will be holding a mass meeting at 1pm today at Zamukulungisa site following the management decision to temporarily close the campus.

- DispatchLIVE