The Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) campus in Pretoria suspended classes today after a fire was started amid student protests last night. The university said the protests proved to be volatile and classes were suspended until further notice for the safety of the staff and students.
TUT spokesperson Willa de Ruyter said: “There was protest action that erupted during the night and there were fires set alight on campus, and after assessing the situation, the vice-chancellor informed the community that the campus will be closed for today”. The university has advised students and staff to leave campus and go home.
The university said there was no indication as to what the motive is behind the protests as well as the deliberate cause of a fire on campus. It said it had been involved in weekly discussions with the TUT student representative council. However, students pointed to the issue of lack of student accommodation at the university as a possible motive.
One students tweeted, “Another day another strike. This time #studentaccomodation is the cause. Is this a national issue?”. While the TUT academic year begins, students without accommodation sleep outside hoping for a limited spot in a residence.
De Ryter added: “We are investigating the motive behind the protests and the safety of our students remains our top priority”.
The university will issue a statement stating when the academic programme will commence during the course of the day.
Meanwhile, the students of the University of Pretoria face a similar situation where many students still desperately wait for a spot in the university residences as the academic year goes on.
Written by Rachel Laemmle