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Cars torched at UCT and CPUT

Six cars were torched at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology's Bellville campus on Monday. Picture: Phando Jikelo

Six cars were torched at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology's Bellville campus on Monday. Picture: Phando Jikelo

Published Oct 25, 2016


Cape Town - Police are investigating after four cars were torched at UCT’s lower campus in the early hours of Tuesday.

The university confirmed the cars, parked in Chapel Road behind the Baxter residence, were set alight at about 2am.

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UCT has condemned the incident, which follows the torching of six cars at Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s Bellville campus on Monday afternoon.

CPUT Fees Must Fall activists have distanced themselves from the attacks, and said their cause for free education had been hijacked by a "third force".

The torchings at CPUT came two weeks after students set alight several buildings on the campus and allegedly locked security guards inside a burning office.

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While the university could not confirm the accumulated financial damage, they estimate it at millions of rand.

Six vehicles, some belonging to staff, were set alight at different sections of the university.

The motive behind the arson has not been confirmed, but the university has suspended classes until further notice.

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Staff have been advised to continue working from home, unless based off campus.

The university entrance still displayed the carnage of the last protests, with signs of the fire visible at the institution’s entrance off Symphony Way. After the unrest the situation on campus was tense as students watched while police and emergency services doused the burning vehicles.

CPUT #FeesMustFall student activists said the movement had distanced itself from the arson attacks.

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“Members of the public came on to our campus and came into conflict with the private security and police. This escalated into what happened,” said the activist, who feared being named.

The identities of these individuals are not known to them, but they have denied any involvement.

UWC student activists confirmed 25 students were still being detained in prison and fighting to get their bail hearing moved forward.

“Some are still in Pollsmoor and others detained elsewhere. We have put pressure on the institutions with the help of parents to have our cadres released,” said the student.

UWC spokesperson Luthando Tyhalibongo said the university made the decision to submit an affidavit in support of the students’ bail last week.

“The students’ parents have been contacted by the university and counselling support has been offered,” said Tyhalibongo.

Meanwhile, two senior law academics from Stellenbosch University have described the rector’s decision to suspend 12 students as unlawful and urged the institution’s leader to reconsider.

On October 10 the letter, from the law faculty’s HFOppenheimer chairperson in human rights law, Professor Sandra Liebenberg, and the department of public law’s Professor Henk Botha was sent to De Villiers and the lawfaculty dean.

This was after the university suspended 12 students in September for their alleged involvement in a sit-in protest at its Wilcox building.

They were part of 30 students interdicted and removed from the building by the private security, who students claim used pepper spray and denied medical assistance to a student experiencing seizures.

Only 12 were suspended the next day and had to leave their residences.

A student protester, who asked not to be named, said they hoped this letter would encourage more academics to speak out against the injustices students faced on campus.

In the letter, the academics said while they did not question the university’s right to obtain an interdict, they had reservations.

They questioned the wisdom of the decision as the students suspended were those the university needed to engage. “Even if it did not, the fact that the university has resorted to such draconian action will undoubtedly represent an obstacle to such engagement.”

Spokesperson for Stellenbosch University Martin Viljoen said students and their legal counsel were informed of the hearings.

UCT students activist Simon Rakei said three members of their leadership, including Masixole Mlandu, were arrested yesterday.

Cape Times

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