No arrests over Mafikeng campus fires

Nobody has been arrested yet in connection with various arson attacks that damaged several buildings on the Mafikeng campus of the North West University.

Police spokesperson Constable Boitumelo Mokubune said no arrests had been made by Monday afternoon.

“Police are at the campus and monitoring the situation.”

She said no incidents had been reported since the arson incidents during Sunday night.

North West University spokesperson Louis Jacobs said at about 8pm on Sunday a university minibus was set on fire.

“After that several places were set alight, which include the Senate Hall, mostly its furniture, three guard houses and a recreation hall.”

At about 3am on Monday, the home of one of the hostel supervisors was also set alight.

Damages were estimated to run into thousands of rands.

Education Minister Naledi Pandor condemned that arson attacks.

“Such criminal acts must be condemned in the strongest possible terms and dealt with by means of the criminal justice system,” she said in a statement.

The situation at the Mafikeng campus was of serious concern as normal academic activities had been disrupted for the past three weeks. Last week, Pandor announced the setting up of an investigation into the problems at the university, in particular the Mafikeng campus.

The department said the composition of the committee and its terms of reference would be released soon.

The university’s council also met on Friday to discuss the situation at the campus, as well as the minister’s letter announcing the inquiry. The council’s executive committee was expected to hold urgent talks with Pandor regarding her intentions.

Jacobs said the council called for immediate action by management to restore a climate conducive to teaching and learning on the Mafikeng Campus.

He said management was waiting for a written report on the various grievances by the Students Representative Council.

The report, with management’s comments, would then be discussed by council during an extraordinary meeting scheduled for October 16.—Sapa

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