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Political parties urged not to fuel fires at universities

Vice chancellors, principals & rectors are condemning the ongoing violence at some campuses.

Wits vice chancellor Adam Habib listens to a group of students on campus who were protesting over the outsourcing of employees on campus on 28 October 2015. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN
Wits University,Wits University protests,Adam Habib,North West University
Local

PRETORIA - Wits University vice chancellor Adam Habib and the Universities South Africa group is pleading with political parties to stop using campuses as the stage for political battles ahead of the municipal elections later this year. 

University vice chancellors, principals and rectors issued a joint statement yesterday condemning the ongoing violence at some campuses across the country and calling for strong leadership to calm tensions. 

The North West University’s Mafikeng has been shut down indefinitely after two buildings were burnt down on Wednesday night.

WATCH: NW University closed indefinitely after burning of Science Centre

Habib says Universities South Africa believe the motives for some of the protests is simply to destabilise the institutions.  

“There are protests happening here that are not directly related to issues around the universities. So what has happened over the last couple of weeks, is once you resolve one thing, somebody puts another thing on the table.”

Habib has asked political parties to be responsible. 

“Don’t play with our universities, don’t destroy our universities because you might win an election down the line but if the universities do not exist, we will have fundamentally destroyed our capacity to create an inclusive society.”

He urged society to stand firm against violence and disruptive demonstrations.

TUT ATTACKS

The Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) says it’s concerned after three of its students were wounded after being shot and stabbed in two separate crimes at the metro rail station near its Pretoria west campus.

In the first attack, a 20-year-old student was shot in an apparent robbery yesterday; he’s in a stable condition in hospital.

Two other students were stabbed at the same station in what also appears to have been a robbery.

The pair are in a serious condition.

TUT spokesperson Willa de Ruyter said, “We are very concerned about what happened there because quite a number of our staff and students make use of the train to get to work and to get to campus. Three [injuries] in one day is really concerning.” 

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)

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