22 CUT students arrested during protest

2016-09-27 17:49
Students at Central University of Technology have been instructed to vacate campus. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

Students at Central University of Technology have been instructed to vacate campus. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

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Bloemfontein – Free State police have confirmed that 22 Central University of Technology students were arrested in the early hours of Tuesday morning during a protest.

They were arrested at 02:00 for malicious damage to property, illegal gathering and public violence, said police spokesperson Chaka Marope.

The group of about 300 students marched on Markgraff Street in Bloemfontein and vandalised road signs and municipal bins, said Marope.   

"They also broke windows of a government vehicle with bricks," he said.  

"Police found the group of students gathered at the SABC offices. Police asked them to disperse and when they refused, police used stun grenades." 

On Monday, the university announced that academic activities would be suspended until October 10 due to security concerns.

"All academic activities for Central University of Technology have been suspended at both the Bloemfontein and Welkom campuses with effect from 12:00 until October 10 due to security concerns on campus at this stage," CUT spokesperson Dan Maritz said in a statement.  

Shock over eviction notice

Maritz said the institution made its decision after a meeting between student leaders and management "failed to effectively address the current challenges and implications of the statement by the Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande for the universities in 2017".

"The meeting served as a continuation of previous meetings which were held with student leaders to find solutions to the current fees must fall debacle, most importantly, our commitment to constructive engagements with our students," he said.  

He added that the university was hopeful that the academic programme would resume after the extended recess, which had been scheduled to begin on September 29.  

Students were given until Tuesday at 12:00 to vacate the institution.

Meanwhile, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said it had been approached by several students who stayed at the affected campus residences.

Free State SAHRC manager Buang Jones said students were shocked about the eviction notice from the university.

"Most students face the prospect of being put out in the street in the event that they [are] forced to leave the residences. Some students neither have money for transport to go home, nor to pay for alternative accommodation.

"The commission strongly urges the university to consider the personal circumstances of the students and allow those from far-flung areas to remain at the university residences until Friday."

Read more on:    cut  |  university fees

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