By: Jeanette Chabalala
Grahamstown – Rhodes University on Wednesday condemned the dumping of medical waste during student protests against tertiary education fees.
“The university condemns in the strongest possible terms the invasion of student residences, the barricading of campus and particularly the malicious and hazardous use of medical waste to form barricades,” it said in a statement.
On Wednesday morning, protesters invaded residences on the upper part of the campus, while students were sleeping. Fire alarms were set off and tyres and two rain water storage tanks were set alight.
Protesters moved down the campus and erected barricades across access roads.
A painting contractor trailer parked on a corner of the Drostdy lawns was dragged to the intersection of Artillery Road and Somerset Street. Protesters tried, but failed, to burn it.
Another barricade across the bottom of the Prince Alfred Street was set alight and reinforced with broken bottles and medical waste, including used needles.
No significant damage to university property was caused.
Some students could not leave their residences or get into dining halls on Wednesday morning because locks were vandalised during the night.
“In one case a small residence was padlocked from outside, thereby seriously endangering the occupants of that residence,” it said.
Some dining hall doors were sealed with glue. The university said those responsible would face charges.
Despite some disruptions, lectures continued.
Meanwhile, the University of KwaZulu-Natal said it had so far lost three weeks of academic time due to the protests.
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