Refurbished building set alight amid UWC chaos
CAPE TOWN — Another building has been set alight at the University of the Western Cape, as chaos broke out on campus early yesterday morning.
Students awoke to the sound of stun grenades after the Education and Residential Services Office was set alight.
UWC spokesperson Luthando Tyhalibongo said the building had recently been refurbished after being damaged in an arson attack during protests in 2015.
Public order police kept an eye on shuttles transporting students to external exam venues after intimidation was reported on Monday, when exams started.
On Monday, clashes broke out between police, campus security and students. A campus vehicle was overturned and graffiti sprayed on buildings. Protesters faced off with police at the student residences, throwing rocks at authorities.
A number of windows were broken. Bottles and rocks lay scattered in the vicinity, and messages in red and black were scrawled across the walls.
Security personnel warned all those entering the campus that they did so at their own risk. In September, when a fresh wave of university protests started, UWC students submitted a memorandum detailing their demands.
Top of the list was free, quality, black-centred education. They wanted all student debts to be cleared, and registration and application fees scrapped.
Other concerns related to safety and the affordability of accommodation, study materials, and clinics.
Students also demanded free sanitary pads and 10GB of free data per month for those living off campus. Wi-Fi and internet access are already free on campus. A strong police and security contingent is currently on campus. Meanwhile, UWC students were transported off the campus to external venues under police guard after protesters tried to prevent examinations from going ahead on Monday.
Police and security were at the campus after fewer than 100 protesting students attempted to derail the exams until demands they had previously made were met.
A student leader told News24 that they did not want the exams to go ahead if their issues were not resolved. He warned that those writing the exams would be “dealt with”. A law student, who sought alternative transport following the morning disruptions, said he understood the reasons for the protest, but still wanted to finish his final exams and “end this hectic year”.
Exams were written at four off-campus venues in Bellville and Bellville South on Monday. — Sapa