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CPUT staff room, financial aid office burnt in arson attacks

Cape Town – The Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) has again been targeted by arsonists, with its Mowbray and Bellville campuses coming under attack in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

A staff room was torched in Mowbray, while in Bellville a petrol bomb caused significant damage to a financial aid office, said CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley.

She said this was the second time the financial aid office had been targeted.

It had been refurbished after damage caused last year.

"At this stage we are not aware of the reasons behind these attacks and SAPS are currently combing both scenes with criminal cases to follow," she said.

The university thanked the police and fire department for swiftly responding to the attacks.

Workshop burnt

Western Cape police did not immediately respond to a request for further information.

Kansley said it was business as usual at the campus in Bellville. She was informed that staff and students were being allowed access to the Mowbray campus.

Last Monday, a workshop at the engineering building on the Cape Town campus was reduced to ash, damaged machinery and shattered glass after being petrol-bombed in the early hours.

Various campuses have experienced sporadic unrest, amid protests that appeared to revolve around student accommodation, unhappiness over campus security and student safety, and insourcing.

CPUT said that during protests a design building was petrol-bombed, stun grenades were fired to disperse a group protesting at a science fair, a fire was lit in a hall and a shotgun was stolen from a guard.

In an affidavit used to obtain an interim order barring four student activists from disrupting university activities, CPUT's acting vice-chancellor Chris Nhlapo detailed the cost of unlawful protest activity.

He said that since the commencement of student protest activities in 2015, substantial damage to CPUT buildings and properties amounted to more than R45m. DM

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