Summary of incidents on campus Friday night
- Wits University
Summary of incident report from Campus Control:
Activity started at around 17:30 when a gathering started around the Matrix around the Men’s residence area. The group was singing on Hostel Drive, armed with stones and the police dispersed them quickly. Some went into Men's Residence while others were pushed out through the Oppenheimer Life Sciences and Jubilee turnstiles. At Jubilee, they jumped over the turnstile itself.
A few minutes later they tried to break the Wits fence from outside. The police responded and they ran towards Braamfontein where they were joined by other students from other institutions. This is when serious problems started at the intersection of Jan Smuts Avenue and Jorissen Street.
Some students regrouped a few minutes later at the Matrix under the bridge. They attempted to block the road. The police responded and they ran into the foyer of the Sunnyside Residence and the Matrix. The Matrix was still very busy that time as the dining halls were still serving dinner. The security cleared them from the inside of the Matrix.
At Sunnyside they would come out to throw stones at the police. The police dispersed them and they moved towards the Jubilee Hall of Residence. Some female students from Sunnyside came out of their room to witness the confrontations.
At no point did the police enter Sunnyside or shoot inside the residence. Wits Security went personally to Sunnyside and spoke to the officer posted in the foyer as well as the hall coordinator. Security also spoke to three female students among the group who were still standing outside. Everyone confirmed that the confrontation happened outside and that there was only the smell of teargas which came in their direction. No one was affected and no one was evacuated.
The group continued and burnt the garbage area behind the Matrix, very close to the gas bottles. The fire took off quickly and the fire department was called and extinguished the fire.
At the same time, another fire started at the Professional Development Hub by a petrol bomb thrown into an office. It was taken out quickly through the window. It didn't affect other offices but it was serious.
The Bozzoli was also hit but was taken out quickly with minimal damage. Another fire truck arrived on the scene to assist. Hofmeyr House was also hit with a petrol bomb. The windows were damaged and the curtains caught fire.
The group ran into Men’s Residence and more police arrived to patrol the campus. The campus became peaceful and quieter at 10pm.
Later in the evening the students from Men’s Residence tried to get out but the police pushed them back. At David Webster they also tried to get out and they lit a mattress and the police dispersed them.
At Knockando they also tried to get out and the police pushed back. The students broke a few windows.
There were no further incidents for the remainder of the night on campus. It is quiet on campus this morning.
[STATEMENT] Wits condemns Friday night's violence on campus and in Braamfontein