White students attacked with rocks and bricks at Western Cape University
Cape Peninsula University of Technology [CPUT] was the scene of a violent race riot last Friday. Hundreds of black students protested the University and blocked the main gate.
The University stopped allowing students with unpaid tuition bills to continue registering for new classes. The protesters were demanding the right to continue attending the University without paying.
When white students tried to get in, they were attacked. Many victims had rocks and bricks thrown at them. The protesters blamed the white victim for the violence. They claim white students “assaulted them” to try to get to class. The victims say they arrived at college to find the black protesters armed with sticks, rocks, and bricks and were attacked without provocation.
CPUT is the largest University in Western Cape with over 32,000 students. It is ranked as the 12th best University in South Africa, and the 2,894th in the world.
A student struck by a brick said he was next to the gate when the protesters attacked him and his friends. They all asked that their names not be published.
“They threw a brick at my head. I was standing here doing nothing. When we got here, they were already standing with bricks and stones in hand. Then they started throwing them at people,” he said.
He said the protesters did not want other students to attend their classes.
“Why do you have to shut the whole university and start throwing stones at people just to make a point? Why can’t you talk like civilised people to one another? Why do you need to attack people?” said another CPUT student who had been injured in the fight.
Students who were not part of the protest found themselves forced out of classes, the library and from their buses.
Public Order Police arrived to intervene and used stun grenades to disperse the crowd.
CPUT spokesman Thami Nkwanyana could not confirm if there had been any damage to property on Thursday. At the CPUT campus in Cape Town, lectures were suspended and students told to go home. Security kept a close watch.
The protest started on Monday when two students were arrested. They were released on Tuesday, when CPUT management held a meeting with the Student Representative Council (SRC) in an attempt to resolve the students’ grievances.
Several windows were smashed during the protest.
The students demanded that the university allow the registration of students who owed the institution money, Nkwanyana said.