UPDATE: CPUT opens attempted murder case after building torched

Cape Peninsula University of Technology has now suspended all classes until further notice.

CPUT officials on the ground confirmed a fire damaged the entrance at the Bellville campus security control centre. Picture: Kevin Brandt/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Management at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) has opened a case of attempted murder after two guards were allegedly locked inside a burning building.

The university's security control centre at the Bellville campus was set alight overnight.

The institution has suspended all classes until further notice.

At least 19 protesting students have been arrested after violence broke out at the institution's Bellville and Mowbray campuses on Tuesday.

CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley says: "Given the fact that we have no guarantee that the security situation will stabilise, the decisions has been taken to suspend classes until further notice. Some of the measures we're implementing include online tuition, alternative forms of assessment and for staff to work off campus."

Kansley says they've laid charges against the protesters.

"They also torched the security office at the main entrance to the [Bellville] campus and at least two vehicles were also damaged. In Cape Town a building was also set alight. Charges of attempted murder were laid after protesters locked two security guards inside a burning building."

Meanwhile, the University of the Western Cape (UWC) has condemned the fact that a member of the executive has been held hostage by a group of protesting students.

Students demanded to meet with the institution's vice-chancellor Professor Tyrone Pretorius and only allowed him to leave after more than two hours.

UWC spokesperson Luthando Tyhalibongo says students are contradicting themselves when they indicate they want academic programmes to continue.

"It's unfortunate that protesters have gone around to remove students and staff members from classes for the past few days. They have also gone around to work stations where staff were sitting to threaten and force them out of their work stations and campus."