Pretoria - Police units were deployed to the Tshwane University of Technology on Tuesday, as protesting students burnt tyres and destroyed some infrastructure belonging to the institution of higher learning.
Vice-chancellor and principal Professor Lourens van Staden said not much damage was done during the “very peaceful” protest.
“In the beginning of the year we had the same thing, very peaceful, no destruction of property and no violence. A few tyres here and there is what you will [get],” Van Staden said as he addressed reporters at the Pretoria West campus.
“Even according to the police giving us reports, it has been a few tyres burning and it has been peaceful. I am not saying I condone it but that is how we do things in the country.”
There had been damage to the students’ residences at the university but Van Staden said the financial cost had not been calculated. He said some doors had been broken, using fire extinguishers.
Lessons and tests scheduled on Tuesday were suspended and scores of students were returning home.
Quantity surveying student Mohau Tsikoane said that on top on the students’ list of grievance was the increasing crime incidents on campus, stale food served at the canteen and inadequacy of accommodation for students.
“People are getting robbed on this campus. When you are walking to the residences late from the library, you get robbed. They take your phone, the Timberlands and Air Max (shoes) are taken by those people. Frequently we hear that so and so was robbed at gunpoint or at knife-point on campus,” said Tsikoane.
“Regarding the food, it is messing up with students because it is cooked in bulk a day or two before.”
Tsikoane said the students were also aggrieved because of the shortage of National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funds.
Numerous security guards from a company Nationwide Security were milling on the campus. Members of the Tshwane Metro Police and the South African Police Service were stationed at the main entrance.