Four of Braamfontein 9 are students: police

2016-10-15 14:35

Johannesburg - Four students are among the nine people arrested after a spate of looting and arson near Wits University in Braamfontein on Friday night.

The police announced this on their Twitter feed, after uncertainty over whether those involved in the violence were students or not.

But in spite of Thursday and Friday night's arson attacks at the university, Wits has vowed to stay open.

"Despite last night's events, classes will continue on Monday," the university said in a statement on Saturday.

The institution said a shutdown would leave around 6000 students in residence and international students homeless which was not fair.

The incidents started on campus at around 17:30 when a small group of students collected stones, allegedly attacked police and tried to destroy property.

(Pics: SAPS)

"The police dispersed the group and some left for Braamfontein where they were joined by students from other places," the university said.

"Another group formed and was involved in skirmishes with the police after throwing petrol bombs into Hofmeyr House and starting fires at the Professional Development Hub, the Bozzoli and the Matrix.

"The group of students then stoned the police outside the Sunnyside residence and the police dispersed them using stun grenades and teargas. At no point did the police enter or throw teargas into the residence," the university said.

Spokesperson Shirona Patel said damage to the campus was minimal compared to what could have happened. Windows were broken, debris was strewn around the campus and there was minimal damage from fires that were started between Thursday and Friday.

She said the campus had expected problems on Friday night, after a call by a student to shift tacticts to night protests. The curfew between 22:00 and 06:00 was put in place and police fanned out around the campus.

She said this was to keep students safe and out of harm's way. Friday night's shock events left an SABC van, a tow truck and a car torched, along with damage to businesses in the area.

The Orbit jazz club was among them towards the end of award-winning singer Sibongile Khumalo's performance.

Security would be boosted on campus for Saturday night, Wits said.

It is not the only university to be experiencing arson and violence.

A clinic was damaged and petrol bombs found at an HIV/Aids clinic at the University of KwaZulu-Natal on Friday night.

At the University of Cape Town, Vice Chancellor Max Price was allegedly punched twice during a conversation with students.

The incident happened after student activist Masixole Mlandu was remanded to Pollsmoor Prison for a week until his next appearance.

Mlandu was arrested on Wednesday for contravening a high court order, malicious damage to property, trespassing, and intimidation. He was out on bail at the time for violating an interdict two weeks ago.

Read more on:    saps  |  wits  |  johannesburg  |  university protests

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