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At least 10 arrested in Rhodes University campus violence

University management attributes the chaos to protesting students entering a complex housing lecturers.

Rhodes University's Sizwe Mabizela says they have had to rely on Saps to control the situation on campus. Pictures: Reinart Toerein/EWN

CAPE TOWN - At least 10 students have been detained at Rhodes University following overnight violence.

The institution's management attributes the start of the chaos to protesting students entering a complex housing lecturers, intent to disrupt, but officers intervened.

Rhodes vice-chancellor Sizwe Mabizela says he is deeply disturbed by what happened.

"A group of protesters went on a rampage on our campus; smashing doors and windows in our residences, in our library, our lecture theatres and other buildings. Two vehicles were overturned, and the university property was heavily vandalised."

Mabizela says the university does not have the capacity to deal with protests.

"We rely on the State Security Agency for that purpose, and so the South African Police Service had to use rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades to bring the situation under control. A number of arrests were made."

The vice-chancellor says although he agrees with students that quality education should be made accessible for young people in the country, saving the academic year is the university's priority.

He says protesting students need to understand that no, university can achieve affordable, quality education on its own.

Mabizela says classes have resumed, but the situation is tense.

"The situation is calm at the moment. I just wish to assure the parents that we will do everything possible to provide as much security for their sons and daughters, but also to make sure the academic year is not wasted."

At the same time, Mako Muzenda, editor of Rhode's student publication _Activate, _says the events of last night were traumatic for both students and student press.

"Four students were arrested; one was dragged by her hands. She was dragged and thrown into the van. The police started firing rubber bullets, and it got to a point where they were shooting at people who were just walking by in the street."

Meanwhile, in the Eastern Cape, plans to resume the academic program at the main Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) campus have again been derailed

Classes at its George campus are continuing, despite the earlier arrests of half a dozen protesters.

NMMU spokesperson Debbie Derry says, "As at this afternoon, our north and south campuses lectures did not resume today as we had hoped. They have resumed on all our other campuses, but unfortunately not on our main north and south campus."

Management is expected meet later this afternoon to discuss the ongoing stalemate.

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