Mayhem in Braamfontein

2016-10-15 00:22
SABC van burning in Braamfontein. (Ferial Haffajee, Twitter)

SABC van burning in Braamfontein. (Ferial Haffajee, Twitter)

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Cape Town - Police warned people to avoid Braamfontein near Wits on Friday night after cars were set alight or stoned. Businesses were also damaged.

‘’I would suggest that the area be avoided so the police can restore calm to the area,’’ said spokesperson Brigadier Sally De Beer.

''An SABC van was torched and the famous Orbit jazz club was damaged as a group of as yet unidentified people ran rampage.

‘’Everything is fucked up. Everything is fucked up,’’ said a man who answered the phone at Orbit.

‘’They are burning my customers' cars,’’ he said.

‘’We are not okay,’’ a colleague who took the phone said, as instructions to position a hosepipe were heard in the background.

The chaos erupted at around 22:30, half an hour after a curfew was instituted at nearby Wits University.
Observers were hesitant to blame the small group of students persisting with the protest for free education, but earlier police released teargas to prevent a group of people on campus from setting alight four gas cannisters.

At least four fires were started on the campus, after #Habibsapartheid started trending following the Vice Chancellor Adam Habib announced a curfew.

Owner of Orbit tries to put out fire. That studio is a very expensive piece of equipment.

Students were stoning police and the university’s security.

Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel said the curfew was put in place because of an apparent change to night attacks by protesters, following fires on Thursday night, and to keep students safe.

Before the curfew started on Friday night, police chased after a group of people believed to be responsible for one of the fires, firing teargas, but the group ran into a women's residence.
Police did not want to enter the women's residence and stood outside while occupational health and safety staff assessed the building for safety after the teargas was discharged outside.
Patel said the building was cleared for safety and there would be no need to evacuate the students.

Security official injured

During the day eight students were suspended and 11 were arrested after protesters fanned out, with some starting fires. A Wits security official had to get stitches after being injured during the fracas.
Patel said a bus from the Tshwane University of Technology was not allowed to enter the campus after violent protests there.

Meanwhile, the toilets of an HIV/Aids clinic on the Howard college campus at UKZN was torched on Friday night.

The fire brigade put the fire out and, apart from the toilets, the clinic was intact.
Spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said a section of the student clinic caught fire at around 20:00 on Friday.
The metro fire department and university risk management services managed to extinguish the flames by 21:00.

Police monitoring situation

"Security officials suspect arson," said Seshoka.
An investigation is under way and police are on campus to monitor the situation.

There were also some attempts to disrupt lectures earlier on Friday and a student was arrested for discharging a fire extinguisher in a lecture venue.

At the University of Cape Town, police fired stun grenades after vice chancellor Max Price was surrounded and punched twice during discussions with students outside the Bremner Building.

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