WATCH: Protesting CPUT students toss mattresses, bookshelves, bottles out of residence

2017-10-09 20:55
A fire at Mount Street near CPUT. (Jenni Evans, News24)

A fire at Mount Street near CPUT. (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - The Cape Peninsula University of Technology has announced that all classes at its Cape Town and Bellville campuses will be closed on Tuesday after ongoing student protest action.

In a statement on its website, it said, "Part-time classes at the Cape Town and Bellville campuses are also postponed this evening [Monday] and until further notice. Updates will be communicated via newsflash to staff and student email addresses after a security assessment has been completed."

This after mattresses, bookshelves and bottles were thrown out of a Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) residence in Cape Town on Monday.

Students started two fires on the road at the main entrance to the residence, and anybody spotted taking pictures had bottles lobbed at them.

Stones rained down on the armoured car of a private security company and some of the onlookers laughed when the security guards fired a few shots from their rifles.  

Earlier, a woman from a children's home, who was driving two small children home after crèche, was surprised by the beer and wine bottles, and stones, being thrown.

"I just had to get the children out," she said, as she explained that she had tried to get out of the street as quickly as possible.

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In the process, her car and one tyre were damaged.

Police changed her tyre and kept an eye on the children for her.

"The children are fine," she said, and drove off.

As the stand-off continued, police arrived with a water cannon.

Earlier on Monday, at least two stun grenades were fired while students were holding a meeting at the amphitheatre of the Cape Town campus.

'This what we have to live with'

About 100 students were sitting on the lawn, or standing, while a leader briefed them on various grievances.

At first, this News24 reporter thought it was the police who had fired the grenades, but no officers were to be seen.

"This is what we have to live with," said one student.

A white unmarked armoured vehicle had been parked nearby them.

Outside the engineering building, strewn rubble had been set alight.

A fire engine arrived to put the fire out and armed guards from private security company Vetus Schola emerged from the armoured car to protect the firefighters.

The firefighters quickly withdrew after one of the guards said the students were preparing to stone the vehicle.

A small water canister was then used to put the fire out, as the fire truck moved away. Two police vans also arrived on the scene, but by then the students had left.


A woman from a children's home got a flat tyre with two small children in the car, when she tried to get away from stone throwers. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Students, who did not want to be named, said the meeting was to do with a delayed verdict over whether the suspensions of the "CPUT4" had been lifted.

Court interdict

The four - Ayakha Magxothwa, Sivuyise Nolusu, Neo Mongale and Lukhanyo Vanqqa - were prevented by a court interdict from being on campus.

They were due to return to court to challenge the interdict on October 12.

In terms of the interim order, they may not bar entry to any of the university's campuses around Cape Town, including in Bellville, Granger Bay and Mowbray.

They may also not disrupt graduation ceremonies or lectures, exams and assessments, damage any property, or intimidate and harass anyone.

CPUT said that, during the protests, a design building had been petrol bombed, stun grenades were fired to disperse a group protesting at a science fair, a fire was lit in a hall, and a shotgun was stolen from a guard.


Police inside, private security outside CPUT residence (Jenni Evans, News24)

The protests appear to revolve around student funding, unhappiness over campus security and student safety, and insourcing of staff.

On Monday, they also accused management of fraud.

On September, 28 private security guards were arrested for allegedly not being registered by the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority.

They were released without charge.

Vetus Schola said none of the arrested guards were theirs.

Read more on:    cput  |  cape town  |  unversity protests

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