National 23.9.2016 12:41 pm

Sanco and Fort Hare blame small group of students for burnt building

Protesters hold signs and gather outside Houses of Parliament during a student march against university fees in London on November 19, 2014. The demonstration organised by the Student Assembly Against Austerity, alongside the Young Greens and National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts demands free education and an end to tuition fees, education cuts and student debt. AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL

Protesters hold signs and gather outside Houses of Parliament during a student march against university fees in London on November 19, 2014. The demonstration organised by the Student Assembly Against Austerity, alongside the Young Greens and National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts demands free education and an end to tuition fees, education cuts and student debt. AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL

Sanco has described the destruction of university properties as ‘senseless’ and ‘outrageous’.

The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) on Friday condemned the torching of a building at the University of Fort Hare’s Alice Campus in the Eastern Cape.

This comes after protesting students at Fort Hare burned down the Equicent Infrastructure Development Building during riots in the early hours of Thursday morning over safety concerns at the campus.

The Equicent Infrastructure Development Building was reported to have contained millions of rands’ worth of equipment, including about 30 plasma TVs‚ washing machines‚ computers‚ beds‚ stoves‚ chairs‚ beds and maintenance tools.

Sanco spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu said no stone must be left unturnt until those responsible were behind bars.

“The senseless destruction of university properties is outrageous. Barbaric acts of violence targeted at education infrastructure investments are a serious drawback,” Mahlangu said.

Mahlangu said it was not sustainable for universities to spend more money on security than academic programmes and research.

“We call on students at the university to isolate and marginalise those behind acts of violence aimed at destabilising higher education,” he said.

Fort Hare vice-chancellor Mvuyo Tom in a statement said the destruction occurred after the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) had agreed that classes would resume.

Tom said it was a small group that had vandalised the university’s property, as most students had agreed to go back to class.

“We had a series of meetings, both a mass meeting and with the SRC. The students were demanding that security be beefed up at all students’ residences,” Tom said.

“We resolved this, and student leaders said that they were satisfied. They told us that they would inform students to go back to class on Thursday.”

Members of the Fort Hare SRC were locked in meetings with university management and were not available for comment.

The Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command (EFFSC) at Fort Hare said it was fully behind the students’ action.

“We do not support vandalism, but we are 100% behind the students. Equicent must go,” tweeted the EFFSC.

Police have made no arrests in relation to the protest action and burning down of the building.

In May, Fort Hare students in Alice went on a rampage and burned tyres outside the campus after they accused management of failing to meet their demands to provide accommodation and transport allowance before the end of the first semester.

African News Agency (ANA)

poll

today in print