‘Bring in the army‚’ says ACDP says after protesters torch Wits bus with students aboard

The University of the Witwatersrand on Wednesday said it will work with “police to track down the perpetrators” of an arson attack on one of its buses while about 15 people were onboard.

While “no injuries have been reported” following Tuesday night’s incident‚ spokesperson Shirona Patel said: “We condemn these criminal acts of arson in the strongest form.

“These acts of violence put the lives of students and others at risk and we are working with police to track down the perpetrators so that they can be brought to book as soon as possible.”

Patel said that “additional security” will be assigned to bus services from Wedensday morning.

The African Christian Democratic Party condemned the “setting alight of a bus” and said “criminals must be hunted and removed from campuses”.

“If police are stretched to the limit‚ then government must bring in soldiers to escort students on campuses who want to complete the academic year‚” the party’s Rev Kenneth Meshoe said.

 “Government must make a good example by ensuring that the cases are watertight‚ and that those who petrol-bombed the bus‚ which was carrying Wits students‚ are charged with attempted murder.”

This bus had been travelling in Queens Road in the Parktown area when it was set alight.

 “There were about 15 people on the bus and it seems as if one of them started the fire and the other students smelled the petrol‚ saw the fire then they alerted the bus driver” said Wits spokesperson

EyeWitness News quoted a student who had been on the bus‚ who said: “As the bus turned around the corner it started burning. People started screaming and then the bus driver got off the bus and people had to struggle to get off the bus. It was very traumatising to think that exams are around the corner and we were on our way to school to study.”

The Student Representative Council (SRC) moved to disavow itself from the attack.

 Wits SRC @WitsSRC tweeted: “We condemn & distance ourselves from the burning of a Wits bus that was in transit. We will provide trauma counseling for those affected”.

Also on Tuesday night‚ the driver and passengers of a Rea-Vaya bus were ambushed and ordered off before it was torched‚ and a police van was also set alight as police as rioters engaged in running battles with police on the streets of Braamfontein.

While Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) spokesperson Edna Mamonyane said on Tuesday night of the police van that “we are not sure if it was burnt by students or not”‚ a student leader last week called for an escalation of protest action on the street of Johannesburg.

 Speaking after #FeesMustFall leader Mcebo Dlamini was denied bail last Wednesday‚ Vuyani Pambo said: “The time of hiding the truth is gone. We are demanding our right‚ we are demanding education…We must increase these numbers. We must tell everyone and close these streets. Make sure we are in large numbers. We must occupy Johannesburg.”

JMPD’s Wayne Minnaar said on Wednesday morning that roads had been reopened and the scene was calm‚ but being closely monitored.

 “We have deployed huge numbers every time the students protest. I can confirm that this morning the roads are fine and they have been cleared and the vehicles that were torched have been removed‚” said Minnaar.

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