Violent protests at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) have resulted in the institution shutting down indefinitely and the postponement of their annual open day. Disturbing videos circulating on social media depict clashes between students and law enforcement at a residence in Belhar, including one video showing a person, believed to be a CPUT student, brandishing a firearm.
The protests are said to be centered around issues related to the shuttle service, cafeterias, and accommodation. Additionally, the unrest is also linked to a new NSFAS funding condition, which disqualifies students studying for less than 60 course credits from receiving accommodation and transportation allowances.
The series of incidents began on Monday when a supply room near the Education Building at the Bellville campus was set on fire. Subsequently, the SS Hall CPUT, a recreational space in Wellington, was also torched. On Wednesday night, two private vehicles and buildings were set ablaze at the Bellville South campus.
According to police spokesperson Joseph Swartbooi, nearly 100 students were involved in the rioting. Public order police intervened when the students’ actions escalated into violence, dispersing the disgruntled students. No arrests have been made thus far.
Romano Mpfunzeni, the CPUT SRC president, declared that they would not halt their protest until their demands are met, although he did not specify what those demands were.
CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley confirmed the shutdown of all CPUT campuses due to continued violent disruptions and the destruction of buildings and infrastructure. She stated that the unruly students, acting in bad faith, have left the university’s management with no choice but to take swift and decisive action in the interest of staff and student safety.
As a result, all residences must be vacated by Friday, May 12th, and transport arrangements will be made for students residing in other provinces. Furthermore, CPUT’s open day, initially scheduled for Saturday, has been postponed.
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