Damage to varsities will cost millions
Arsonists petrol bomb UCT truck
AT LEAST two Western Cape universities face bills of millions of rands to repair property and infrastructure severely damaged after another round of student protests.
In the most recent incident, arsonists struck at UCT in the early hours of yesterday morning, apparently petrol-bombing a truck used by students and researchers about 3am.
The double-cab vehicle was parked adjacent to the institution’s geological sciences building and, although no one was injured, UCT spokesman Elijah Moholola said the entire ventilation system of the building may have to be replaced.
Fumes and smoke had entered the vents of the specialised air filtration system and repairs were expected to run to millions of rands.
Meanwhile, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) also said it expected losses to run into “many multimillions considering the extensive damage” done at two CPUT campuses this week.
The university’s Short Courses Centre at the Cape Town campus went up in flames early on Wednesday, while its control centre at the Bellville campus was also targeted and remains badly damaged. Arson attempts at Stellenbosch University were not successful. University spokesman Martin Viljoen said a small group of protesting students tried unsuccessfully to set two vehicles alight on Thursday night.
Viljoen said yesterday the situation had been calm.
University of the Western Cape (UWC) spokesman Luthando Tyhalibongo said that campus had been quiet, with no incidents reported yes- terday.
He said classes at the university would “hopefully” resume on Tuesday, as the institution was dedicating Monday to “a day of dialogue”.
He said several meetings between students, staff and the general student body would be held. “The completion of the academic pro- gramme remains our main priority, hence we would like these conversations to, amongst other things, help us find sustainable solutions to complete the academic programme without compromising the credibility of qualifications,” Tyhalibongo said.
CPUT spokeswoman Lauren Kansley said they had already made alternative arrangements for off-site assessments at the Wingfield Military Base, “like we did in 2015”.
“Our teams have been working flat out to get the logistics in place for this to happen from Monday onwards,” Kansley added.
Stellenbosch University reported that classes and tests would proceed “uninterrupted” on Monday.
“A visible security presence remains on campus,” the university’s Viljoen said.
Viljoen also urged students to disregard an alleged threatening voice note which had been distributed via social media.
“All students received an SMS message from SU indicating that the threatening voice note could not be validated and that classes would continue,” he said.
Meanwhile, UCT said it would make an announcement regarding completion of the 2016 academic programme this weekend.