University of Fort Hare closes Alice campus after violent protests

2017-10-02 22:41
(File, supplied)

(File, supplied)

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Cape Town – The University of Fort Hare has closed its Alice campus until further notice after a student centre was set alight, causing damage worth an estimated R200 000, a university spokesperson said on Monday.

"[Management] has come to the conclusion that the volatility of students makes it difficult for staff members to do their work effectively," university spokesperson Khotso Moabi said in a statement.

Moabi said all staff and students had been asked to vacate the campus by Tuesday, October 3.

Eastern Cape police spokesperson Siyasanga Nontshinga said one student was arrested for arson after allegedly setting the student centre alight on Monday afternoon.

She said protesters were demanding to see the university's vice chancellor Sakhela Buhlungu.

"More arrests are imminent," Nontshinga said.

The university's main campus in Alice, has been brought to a standstill over the past week after disgruntled students allegedly vandalised a bookshop and blocked streets.  

A meeting of the student representative council and management last week Tuesday failed to defuse tensions over issues including periodic water outages and power cuts and Wi-Fi connectivity downtime at residences.

On Wednesday, some students blocked the R63 at the entrance to the university.

They also allegedly stoned vehicles, looted livestock and grocery items from passing cars and plunged the entire campus into darkness when they cut power on Wednesday.

On Thursday, students allegedly stole stock worth an estimated R1.97m from a bookshop. Students are believed to have stolen laptops, tablets, stationery and kitchen utensils while damaging the property and breaking glass windows.


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