South Africa: CPUT Lecture Theatre Targeted By Arsonists

Photo: Cape Peninsula University of Technology
A staff room at CPUT Mowbray campus after an arson attack.
20 September 2017

A lecture theatre at the Cape Town campus of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) was set alight on Wednesday, after similar attacks at the institution's Mowbray and Bellville campuses.

Security personnel were the first to discover that the classroom had been set on fire, said Western Cape police spokesperson Warrant Officer Henrietta van Niekerk.

CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley said they were aware of the arson, that but details were still sketchy.

A staffroom was also torched in Mowbray, while in Bellville a petrol bomb caused significant damage to a financial aid office, she said.

This was the second time the financial aid office had been targeted.

It had been refurbished after damage caused last year.

She said CPUT was not aware of the reasons behind the attacks.

The university thanked the police and fire department for their swift response.

ANC condemns attacks

Last Monday, a workshop at the engineering building on the Cape Town campus was reduced to ash, damaged machinery and shattered glass after being petrol bombed in the early hours of the morning.

Various campuses have experienced sporadic unrest amid protests that appear to revolve around student accommodation, unhappiness over campus security and student safety, and insourcing.

On Wednesday, the ANC condemned the torching of facilities at CPUT in "the harshest possible terms".

"These criminal acts must be punished using the full might of our law enforcement system, as they can never be a justification for any grievance anyone may have had," ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said in a statement.

He pointed out that the estimated cost of damage to universities following recent protests was around R459m, which could have been better spent on students.

"The ANC calls upon any person with information in relation to these unlawful acts to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies to bring the perpetrators to book," he said.


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