An investigation revealed that a fire at the UFS Qwaqwa campus on Monday was intentionally set alight.

 Image for illustration purposes only. Photo: Stephen Radford/Unsplash

The University of the Free State (UFS) has confirmed the arrest of a student, saying they are hot on the heels of more suspects responsible for the near total destruction of two buildings amounting to millions of rand in damages.

In a statement on their website UFS spokesperson, Lacea Loader, says that the preliminary findings of an urgent investigation indicate that the buildings on campus grounds were intentionally set alight. The fire broke out at the UFS Qwaqwa campus on Monday evening.

She says that they are in the process of identifying more suspects. The institution will initiate disciplinary action against suspects who are registered as students. Criminal charges will also be laid against perpetrators.

Loader says the two buildings, which housed a clinic and a computer laboratory, were almost completely destroyed. Damages are estimated at R35m.

The academic programme at the Qwaqwa campus continues, mostly online, for the remainder of this week.

“The campus remains open; the university’s protection services is on high alert and is monitoring the situation on campus closely,” Loader says.

It is alleged that students have recently been unhappy about payments of allowances that they are yet to receive from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

“To alleviate this, the UFS has so far this year offered students allowances for food and books amounting to more than R71 million, while they are waiting for their NSFAS subsidies to be released,” Loader says.

OFM News previously reported that two students were allegedly shot with stun grenades during a protest march at the UFS main campus in Bloemfontein on Monday.

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