After 10 cars were torched at Cape universities, claims of a third force “planted to cause violence” to discredit the #FeesMustFall movement have emerged.
Meanwhile, thousands of students are expected to descend on Parliament today to demand free education, as Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is set to deliver his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement.
In the latest incidents of student protest violence, four vehicles at the University of Cape Town were set alight in the early hours of yesterday morning.
This came just hours after five vehicles were torched at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s Bellville campus on Monday afternoon.
A sixth car was burnt out at CPUT’s Cape Town campus on Monday evening.
UCT management has condemned the incident as well as other reports of disruptions and intimidation of cleaning staff and drivers by protesters.
Officials say on Monday, four people were arrested.
First-year physics student, Claude Formanek, whose blue Suzuki Swift was among the four torched at UCT, says he has been left “unsettled” by the incident.
He was asleep at the residence when a friend alerted him to the fires.
“There was nothing we could do at that stage as police had already cordoned off the scene, other than to sit there and watch it go up in flames,” he says.
“Nothing has been said about who will be liable for the damage but we’re currently trying to sort it out with my insurance.”
CPUT management has called on students to piemp those behind the violence.
But CPUT protest leaders have distanced themselves from the criminal attacks, blaming a third force.
“We have always maintained that we are disciplined and non-violent, anything that happens here at campus is in self-defence from attacks from these toy soldiers (security guards) the university has brought in intimidate us,” says a protester who did not want to be identified.
“There are also individuals among us committing acts in our names when they do not form part of our movement, so that we can be described as violent and our legitimate concerns are lost in the midst of the chaos, but we shall not let them scare us to stop us from fighting for free decolonised education.”