WSU's Mthatha protesters loot, damage property

FEBRUARY 18, 2016

Student representatives at Walter Sisulu University's Mthatha campus are in talks with management following violent protests at the institution this week.

The talks, at a neutral venue in East London, followed extensive damage protesting students caused on the campus on Tuesday and Wednesday, university spokesperson Yonela Tukwayo said. 

"They have burnt a number of our fleet cars, they have damaged private property, they continue to burn property, they have looted the warehouse, they have looted the campus kitchen which supplies the cafeteria - the food that the kids end up eating and buying.  So there has been widespread vandalism on the Mthatha campus,” she said.

Interim vice chancellor Khaya Mfenyana shut the campus on Tuesday. Students were told to vacate their residences until calm was restored.

"Unfortunately, the kids are still on campus and more cars were burnt today after being instructed to leave campus completely, including the residence. They said they would only leave if there was a court order directing them to leave the campus."

Tukwayo said security guards and police were on the campus.

"SAPS has been working tirelessly in the last few days to get the situation under control, but it is very disappointing that students can damage the very property that is used to support them in their education," she said.

Meanwhile, 51 Walter Sisulu University students were released on bail on Tuesday following their arrest during violent protests on its East London campus.

University spokesperson Yonela Tukwayo said it was not clear who had paid for their bail after they appeared in court on Tuesday morning.

They spent Monday night in jail.

Police charged them with public violence and public disturbance. The university had not pressed any charges against the group, she said.

East London police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Mtati Tana could not immediately provide the date of their next court appearance. 

Students brought the Buffalo City campus to a halt last week and blockaded entrances.

Last Friday, the Student Representative Council handed a list of demands to the executive.

"They put down their demands and they said that they wanted every single one of their demands met," Tukwayo said.

These included having a new residence be built.

"Obviously that goes into hundreds of millions of rands. It's projects that you need to plan for way in advance, look for financial support and sponsors, and then you build. So some of those demands we were not able to meet."

During a meeting earlier on Wednesday, students undertook to allow workers to return to their jobs on Thursday, and promised go back to classes on Monday, Tukwayo said. 

---News24wire

Source: http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/wsus-mthatha-protesters-loot-damage-property-20160217

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