Cape Town - Remnants of small blazes could be seen in front of UCT’s Sarah Baartman Hall on Tuesday where students protested over the alleged breach to a mediated agreement by the university management and the Student Representative Council (SRC) on evictions.
Protests spearheaded by the SRC have picked up again over the alleged eviction of unregistered students. The SRC said following weeks of meaningful engagement and mediation with the university management, numerous students were sent letters of financial exclusion.
The students had for a number of weeks protested over fee blocks, housing and issues related to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
After a recent sitting of a Student Parliament, some SRC members submitted letters of resignation. A motion of no confidence and disbanding of the SRC or a reshuffle was reportedly part of the proposed motions, but “fell short due to constitutional limitations”, according to an insider.
The SRC, however, has not released any formal communications on this.
Police spokesperson Malcolm Pojie said: “We have been informed that disgruntled students who were served with eviction notices toppled tables and bins on the premises on Monday night.”
Yesterday, students continued to block roads on Upper Campus.
Pojie said Public Order Police were deployed to the area outside the university to monitor the situation and “to be on standby should the need arise to respond rapidly”.
UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola said on Monday that about three lectures were disrupted in the Kramer Law Building and later in the evening, between 20 and 50 people blocked Baxter Road and started small fires on Lower and Upper Campus.
In February, the university was granted an interim interdict over the protests by the Western Cape High Court. “Management hopes to resolve the situation speedily and to work collaboratively with the SRC in the best interest of the UCT community,” Moholola said.
“It should be stated in no uncertain terms that, contrary to claims made, there has been no breach of the mediation agreement on fee blocks reached with the SRC in March 2023.”