At least 3 fires set at varsities across the country

2016-10-12 09:01

Johannesburg – At least three universities across the country were targets of arson overnight.

At Wits University, the John Moffet Architecture Building was targeted.

University spokesperson Shirona Patel said that several petrol bombs were also found on the campus, and that the fire is suspected to have been started by one of the Molotov cocktails.

The CPUT campus on fire overnight
The CPUT campus on fire overnight. (Supplied)

"There was a fire started in the basement of the John Moffet Architecture Building last night, which was put out. Police are still investigating [and there was] no damage aside from a broken window," she said.

Patel added that toilets had also been deliberately flooded in many bathrooms in campus buildings.

"[A] bag was found with three petrol bombs at Raikes Gate on the west campus in a backpack.

"Two petrol bombs were found outside the John Moffet building and one likely thrown through the window," she added.

Wave of arson attacks

The follows a wave of similar arson attacks at other universities across the country.

At the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Pietermaritzburg campus, students had to be evacuated from the Malherbe Residence after a fire broke out in a common room.

It is understood that the room was gutted by fire, and that smoke flooded the rest of the residence.

Almost simultaneously, the Council Chambers at the centre of the campus was petrol bombed.

The damage is understood to have been limited.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Sally de Beer said that two students were arrested in relation to incidents of arson.

"It is in connection with two incidents of setting a hall alight on the campus," she said.

CPUT campus ablaze

Two separate incidents were also reported at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

Cape Town Fire and Rescue spokesperson Theo Layne said that both incidents were related to protest action.

Shortly after midnight, firefighters had rushed to CPUT.

"A section of the building was alight when we arrived, three adult males were treated for lacerations and smoke inhalation," he said.

Three hours later, firefighters were called out again.

"A section of the institution was alight on our arrival. Both fires have been extinguished. Metro Police and SAPS were on the scene at both incidents to assist with the safety of the firefighters as this was a protest-related incident," Layne said.

Tyres were also burnt at the gate of the Tshwane University of Pretoria's west campus.

Read more on:    cput  |  tut  |  ukzn  |  university fees  |  fires  |  university protests

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