Johannesburg – The South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) on Friday condemned the torching of a building at the University of Fort Hare’s Alice Campus in the Eastern Cape.
This comes after protesting students at Fort Hare burned down the Equicent Infrastructure Development Building during riots in the early hours of Thursday morning over safety concerns at the campus.
The Equicent Infrastructure Development Building was reported to have contained millions of rands’ worth of equipment, including about 30 plasma TVs‚ washing machines‚ computers‚ beds‚ stoves‚ chairs‚ beds and maintenance tools.
SANCO spokesperson, Jabu Mahlangu said no stone must be left until those responsible were behind bars.
“The senseless destruction of university properties is outrageous. Barbaric acts of violence targeted at education infrastructure investments are a serious drawback,” Mahlangu said.
Mahlangu said that it was not sustainable for universities to spend more money on security than academic programmes and research.
“We call on students at the university to isolate and marginalise those behind acts of violence aimed at destabilising higher education,” he said.
Fort Hare’s Vice Chancellor, Mvuyo Tom, in a statement said the destruction occurred after the Student Representative Council (SRC) had agreed that classes would resume.
Tom said it was a small group who had vandalised the university’s property as most students had agreed to go back to class.
“We had a series of meetings, both a mass meeting and with the SRC. The students were demanding that security be beefed up at all students residences,” Tom said.
“We resolved this and student leaders said that they were satisfied. They told us that they would inform students to go back to class on Thursday.”
Members of the Fort Hare SRC were locked in meetings with university’s management and were not available for comment.
The Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command (EFFSC) at Fort Hare said it was fully behind the students’ action.
“We do not support vandalism, but we are 100 percent behind the students. Equicent must go,” tweeted the EFFSC.
Police have made no arrests in relation to the protest action and burning down of the building.
In May, Fort Hare students in Alice went on a rampage and burnt tyres outside the campus after they accused management of failing to meet their demands to provide accommodation and transport allowance before the end of the first semester.