UP spokesperson, Rikus Delport, confirmed to Perdeby that the fire was caused by protesting Nehawu workers. Delport also confirmed that some animals were set free from their camps. Delport said, “The University strongly condemns the actions of the workers and criminal charges will be laid against the guilty parties. A disciplinary process will also be taken against them.” Delport said that UP was still engaging with the workers on their demands. “It is sad that the workers committed this violent act while University management is still engaging with them,” Delport added.

Joseph Makhasa, the branch chairperson of Nehawu at UP, told Perdeby that the Nehawu workers gathered for a meeting and then he sent the workers home. Makhasa said that he urged his members to remain peaceful. Makhasa said, “In a strike, you cannot control all angry members.”

Nehawu workers at UP have been protesting since 19 May for an increase in wages, a thirteenth cheque and the option to choose a different medical aid other than the one used by UP