Student Residences Torched While South Africa Continues To Burn

As we all watch the chaos unfold in parts of South Africa, student residences have reportedly been set alight. The South African Students Congress (SASCO) has addressed this and have made demands.

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Two student residences in Durban and Pietermaritzburg are said to have been torched on Tuesday with violence occurring in those areas. Kwazulu-Natal and Gauteng have now fallen victim to looting and destruction.

Structures on the ground along with students and student leaders who were affected were the ones to report the violence to the South African Students Congress (SASCO).

This could then lead to students not having anywhere to stay and especially when violence and chaos is happening all around, somewhere to be safe is of utmost importance for both the student's life and their education.

SASCO has released a statement addressing this occurrence and has condemned that which has been done:

The South African Students Congress (SASCO) condemns in the strongest terms possible the burning of student residences in Durban and Pietermaritzburg by domestic terrorists which has been reported to have taken place today.

Students who were affected are being accommodated in temporary accommodation while other arrangements are made should they need to stay somewhere else or return home.

They also mention that this could place students in danger of being hurt "during these acts of vandalism, terrorism and criminality". SASCO does not see this as protests but rather as domestic terrorists taking part in looting.

While speaking to The Careers Portal, SASCO's Luvuyo Barnes said:

We will not allow for us to have a sweet talking approach when our students are being terrorised by these criminal elements.

"We have a responsibility to our students and that is what we are focused on"

The Congress went on to say that, "No conscious person would seek to liberate anyone by burning their source of development and liberation".

Like many others in the country, SASCO is calling on law enforcement to make sure that order is restored and to "do anything possible to protect the countries infrastructure against the current domestic terrorism". They also want those responsible to be held accountable and to feel the might of the law.

SASCO is said to have been making efforts to ensure more residences are built and that more student accommodation is made available to students as the country faces a shortage of student accommodation with students marching to demand more living spaces every year.

We condemn this reckless and criminal actions within the context of students having been allowed to stay at their residences as a means to curb the spread of the virus and contain movement. 

The Congress continued to urge all students to stay focused and vigilant and to refuse participation in looting.

SASCO is yet to engage with the department on this saying, "we've had no time to reach out to higher education, we had a crisis and we had to deal with it". The Congress believes that the issue is with security and keeping students safe.

Read the full statement from the South African Students Congress here.

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