Universities South Africa (USAf), the representative association of the 26 public universities in South Africa, has condemned the arson attacks attempted on a number of South African universities, including the University of Johannesburg.
According to the CEO of USAf, Dr Ahmed Bawa the trend to burn public university infrastructure is direct attack to the “the national social justice agenda and the economy.”
“It exacerbates the dire financial situation in which the university sector currently finds itself,” said Bawa.
Using the losses occurred in the University Of Johannesburg fire, Bawa says at the very minimum the R100 million losses incurred could have created new 285-bed residence or 1390 additional students could have been assisted by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme for one year.
According to a statement released by UJ, the university’s 1000-seater auditorium at the Auckland Park Kingsway Campus was set on fire early Monday morning. The fire destroyed computer laboratories, including equipment used to conduct career assessment and guidance for students and prospective students, bringing the estimated damage to R100 million.
Even though nobody was injured, a lot of student will be affected.
“Midyear exams, scheduled to take place in the computer labories, and a number of graduation ceremonies due to take place in the auditorium in June, have been directly affected by the arson attack” said the University.
“There can be no doubt that this is just the latest in a set of criminal acts directed at our country’s basic and higher education institutions which must be condemned all in the strongest terms possible,” said Prof Rensburg, the Vice Chancellor of University.
“We are calling on the police, the intelligence services and the judiciary to re-double their efforts in getting to the bottom of this organised set of attacks, and in ensuring that every last one of this very small number of perpetrators is apprehended, tried, and sent to jail.”
The University has managed to also obtain an interdict to stop any form of grouping at UJ's residences‚ libraries‚ lecture venues‚ laboratories and any buildings operated‚ owned or managed by the university including off-campus accommodation.