TUT students blame 'bouncers' for campus violence

2015-11-23 11:37
A fire at Gencor Hall at Tshwane University of Technology, Soshanguve campus. (@Bennyrikhotso1, Twitter)

A fire at Gencor Hall at Tshwane University of Technology, Soshanguve campus. (@Bennyrikhotso1, Twitter)

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Pretoria - Security guards provoked violence at the Tshwane University of Technology's (TUT) Soshanguve South campus at the weekend, student leaders claimed on Monday.

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The deputy president of the Student Representative Council in Soshanguve, Sthembiso Ka Shandu, accused the security guards of overreacting on Saturday night when students entered the campus.

"Students entered the campus as a group after watching soccer but security thought they were going to cause trouble and attacked them," he said.

"The students then called backup from the students who were in their rooms and clashes flared up which eventually led to the damaged property. The bouncers provoked the students."

All examinations at the Soshanguve North and South campuses had been postponed indefinitely, the university said on its website on Sunday.

- Read more: TUT exams 'postponed indefinitely'

The university attributed the postponement to "ongoing volatility" and said a further announcement would be made on Monday.

Three halls were set alight at the Soshanguve campus during the weekend protest.

Police spokesperson Captain Tsekiso Mofokeng said furniture was damaged in the fires. Two private vehicles belonging to security guards were also set alight.

Ka Shandu said they had tried to speak to the university management regarding the presence of bouncers on campus and the effect this was having. Students have accused the security officers of being violent and attacking them without provocation.

One student who asked not to be named said security guards entered their residences in the early hours of Sunday morning and started shooting at them.

"They came charging into the residences and started shooting inside. They even broke windows of the rooms without us doing anything to them," she said.

- More: We just want to write our exams - TUT students

Ka Shandu said the protest was not led by the SRC. He said students felt the SRC was siding with management by holding discussions while they were busy with exams. He added that the students felt their memorandum was not responded to.

"We encouraged management to speak to the students as they were leading the protest but management said they are only prepared to speak to the SRC. We asked that they be allowed into meetings as observers so that they can see what the process is like but that idea was turned down," he said.

TUT spokesperson Willa de Ruyter said she was not aware of the allegations and they were busy with investigations.

"Police and campus security are carrying out investigations to determine the cause of the violence. We will have more information once the investigations are concluded," she said.

Read more on:    tut  |  pretoria  |  education  |  university fees  |  protests

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