Suspended CPUT students stage vigil as hearings drag on
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Cape Town - Five senior engineering students from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) have been sleeping outside the Bellville campus, in an effort to gain public sympathy.
The students were allegedly suspended during the November protests, and claimed the university has been delaying their hearings.
Xolani Booi, a mechanical engineering final-year student (expelled), Ayabulela Majavu, electrical engineering final year, Nam Malgas, chemical engineering second year, Yanga Tsama, civil engineering second year student, and Ongezo Dayimani, mathematical sciences final year, were arrested during campus protest about financial exclusions.
They said the institution targeted them for leading student protests.
Four of them now face disciplinary hearings and another student who claimed that he was not part of the protest has already been expelled.
Majavu said they felt like their right to basic and higher education has been infringed by the university.
“Ours is one of justice delayed is justice denied and for them to delay till now is against the law of the country as they are delaying us,” said Majavu.
Booi said he was arrested because he was allegedly seen by-passing protesters, and was told he was part of those who were caught throwing stones at a building.
CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley said the suspended students were facing a range of serious charges including malicious damage to property and assault.
Kansley agreed that the hearings have been longer than expected, “because the students themselves have delayed the proceedings”.
“They have been accommodated at a hotel for the duration of the hearings but they have chosen to leave that safe and comfortable accommodation to instead squat outside the Bellville campus, where they are at risk of acquiring additional charges like trespassing,” said Kansley.
She said they were working with law enforcement to monitor the situation and the safety of their staff and students remain their concern.
“The disciplinary process must be allowed to unfold for the safety of all,“ she said.