Students arrived back in droves following violent protests in which an administration block and a science centre were torched as protesters called on management to reverse a decision to dissolve the Student Representative Council (SRC).
NWU spokesperson Koos Degenaar said the suspension was called because the damage to property meant no work could be done from the administration block and for police to conduct investigations. The damage amounted to R150 million and work on the affected buildings is yet to get under way.
“Construction experts still have to come and assess the buildings to check whether there is a need for them to be rebuilt because we have to ensure that everyone who will be going into those buildings is safe to do so.
“Staff members who were working from the administration building prior to the violent protests have now been relocated to other buildings on campus,” he said. So far no arrests have been made since a case of arson was opened. Tuesday’s reopening went smoothly with no incidents of violence.
“We are hoping that everything will go as planned because we cannot afford any further disruptions, even if it means a protest action that lasts only for a day.
“We are also confident, working with law enforcers, that everything will go well as planned in terms of our catch-up programmes, which has also seen us opening a week earlier for the second semester and also forming part of the programme will be Saturday classes,” Degenaar said.
Private security officials were manning the main entrance to the campus and everyone going in had to provide proof of identity. Degenaar said security would be tight until law and order had been fully restored to the university. He said the university would only hold talks with the current student representatives.
There were no plans to meet with the dissolved SRC.