Pretoria - The Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) has closed all of its campuses following a spate of violent protests, the institution said on Saturday.
“The Tshwane University of Technology has announced that all campuses will be closed from today, 20 September,” spokeswoman Willa de Ruyter said in a statement.
“In the interest of their own safety, all residence students at all campuses must vacate their rooms by this afternoon at 5pm.”
De Ruyter said the decision to shut down the institution followed the burning of 18 cars.
Police said cases of malicious damage to property and public violence were opened on Saturday, following the torching of the cars.
Spokeswoman Lt-Col Khensani Magoai said there were no injuries and no one had been arrested. She said police were monitoring the situation.
The protests have seen the closure of the institution on a number of occasions and the suspension of the Student Representative Council (SRC).
The suspension was lifted on Wednesday, following talks between the two parties.
On September 17, it was agreed that the strike would be suspended and lectures would resume.
De Ruyter said management's decision on Saturday, followed the violent protest action that erupted at the Soshanguve and Ga-Rankuwa campuses causing extensive damage to university property and threatening the safety of students.
She said the institution would bring the official recess forward to commence on Monday, September 22. Talks with student leaders would continue during that time.
“This decision was reached in consultation with the Chair of the Tshwane University of Technology's Council. The university will advise on the formal re-opening of the university. Updated information will be published on our website,” she said.
SRC president Mboniseni Dladla said the closure came as a shock but it was informed by the high level of violence in Soshanguve.
He said as much as they understood the decision to close the university, the SRC questioned why the entire institution had to be closed instead of the Soshanguve campus where violence was prevailing.
“We don't agree with the move because at the other campuses there is no violence. It (the closure) was just supposed to be in Soshanguve,” he said.
Students were protesting against the lack of funds in the National Student Financial Aid Scheme. - Sapa