Ricochet News

Fort Hare closes Alice campus again after student centre torched

Oct 3, 2017
Fort Hare closes Alice campus again after student centre torched

It remains to be seen if the University of Fort Hare will re-open its Alice campus on Tuesday after it decided to close it down on Monday after violence again erupted.

One student was arrested on Monday for arson after allegedly setting the university's student centre alight, causing damage worth an estimated R200 000.

While the university has campuses in Bhisho and East London, Alice is considered the main campus.

"Management has once again; this morning assessed the conditions on our Alice campus and has come to the conclusion that the volatility of students makes it difficult for staff members to do their work effectively.

"Therefore, management has taken the decision to, again, close the campus toi ensure the safety of staff and students," the university said in a statement.

"Alice campus staff are requested to vacate their stations for today and return tomorrow - 3 October 2017."

The campus was expected to re-open on Monday following last week's violence when operations were brought to a standstill over the past week when protests broke out at the Alice campus on Tuesday and resulted in the looting of property as well as damage to cars and infrastructure.

This was after the Student Representative Council (SRC) and management failed to agree on student grievances that include periodic water outages, power cuts and Wi-Fi connectivity downtime at residences.

On Wednesday, some students blocked the R63 at the entrance with burning tyres to the university and plunged the entire campus into darkness when they cut power on Wednesday night.

The following day, on Thursday, students allegedly stole stock worth an estimated R2 million from a campus bookshop. The stock included laptops, tablets, stationery and kitchen utensils.

The Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (DASO) in the Eastern Cape on Friday blamed a rival student organisation, the South African Students Congress (SASCO), for the violence.