Following the arson attack that saw the destruction of the Sanlam Auditorium on 16 May 2016, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) made quick work of restoring the venues used for teaching that were also damaged in the fire and was able to start using them again from 1 August 2016.
The South African Police Services, the Special Investigation Unit (the Hawks), and forensic investigators appointed by the University’s insurers, worked closely with the University to identify the perpetrators of this heinous act.
These investigations have made significant progress and the University will now embark on disciplinary action against the students who were identified as having been involved with this act.
In light of the extremely serious nature of the incident, the University does not consider it appropriate to delay the disciplinary proceedings pending conclusion of criminal proceedings, which may only commence sometime in the future. It is also not in the interests of the University and its stakeholders to permit these students to remain on campus in anticipation of criminal proceedings.
The University is nevertheless mindful of its responsibility not to prejudice the State’s criminal case and hence it will not be prudent to make detailed information about the evidence in its possession, public.
As a place of research, innovation, learning and teaching, the University must always be a place of open debate. UJ will continue to take all necessary steps to ensure the safety, security, and freedom of movement and debate of all its people. All measures will be taken to ensure the safety of students, staff and the buildings which create the environment in which they need to study, teach, and work.
UJ prides itself in its ability to provide accessible learning and teaching to all its students. In order to remain one of the top performing universities, those guilty of these actions will have to be held accountable.
The University would like to thank staff, students and parents for their support and patience during this investigation and can be assured of our ongoing commitment to the safety of our campus community and property.