JOHANNESBURG – In contrast to the mostly peaceful student protests that took place last week over student fees being raised on South African campuses, fires broke out on one Wits University campus overnight, already generating the hashtag #WitsOnFire.
One news report said that a bookstore and two vehicles were set alight and access control mechanisms on turnstiles ripped off the poles. Vice Chancellor Adam Habib was quoted in another news report as saying the blazes were started “deliberately and simultaneously” on the Braamfontein campus.
Activities at Wits were meant to start again today after the university closed during the protests. The reopening was agreed to by university and student representatives, reports said.
From entries on Twitter, it was unclear what the fires were about, although many are tweeting about how the fires have undone the good created by the protests.
— karabo freshguy Tema (@KaraboTema) October 28, 2015
19. You cant honestly believe the same people who were fighting for workers rights are be responsible for #Witsonfire. It just wasn’t us!
— President Sea (@SeadimoTlale) October 28, 2015
— Kate Morrissey (@bgirledukate) October 28, 2015
— IOL News (@IOL) October 28, 2015
Burning your own book its like drinking a poison and expect another person to die. #WitsOnFire
— IG: BarryRouxLaw (@Barry_Roux) October 28, 2015
— Thobani Mtolo (@ThobaniMtolo) October 28, 2015
— Timothy Rokebrand (@cage_the_tim) October 28, 2015
— ∆ #FreeEducation (@MEFIED) October 28, 2015
— The Black Dragon (@AyandaMlotshwa) October 28, 2015
It's actually very reckless to point fingers at this stage #WitsOnFire
— Spirit of Solomon (@IAmPaliey) October 28, 2015