WSU bookstore burnt in violent student riots

A campus bookstore was looted and burnt in a night of student rioting and police counter-action at two Walter Sisulu University learning sites on Monday night.

Police fired rubber bullets, teargas and stun grenades to disperse students who blockaded part of the N2 in front of the Nelson Mandela Drive site with burning tyres.

Walter Sisulu University

Heavily armed police were also kept busy at the Zamukulungisa site, where students allegedly looted and burnt a bookshop located on the premises.

University spokeswoman Yonela Tukwayo said: “I can confirm that a bookstore located at Zamukulungisa site was looted and burnt by students.

“The costs of the damage have not been quantified yet as the campus is closed. Assessors’ safety cannot be guaranteed if they go in.”

Commenting on the burning of the bookshop, SRC president Sinelizwi Mantangayi said : “We suspect it is people from outside since they know that there is a protest.”

The students are protesting over National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) food allowances.

Tukwayo said the university had made arrangements with NSFAS to extend the deadline and allow the affected students a chance to sign their agreements.

“After a meeting with the SRC, a NSFAS delegation and management on Friday, the SRC called a mass meeting on Saturday to report back,” Tukwayo said.

“They tabled the resolutions and action plans.”

Tukwana said it was disappointing that despite the university’s attempts to bring the situation under control, students still behaved violently and destructively.

Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Mzukisi Fatyela said a case of arson and damage to property was being investigated.

“No arrests have been made as yet,” he said.

The university closed both the Mthatha and Butterworth campuses last week amid student disruptions, mostly over NSFAS-related issues.

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