Stun grenades and water cannon are used to disperse student protesters at UWC main gate.     SISONKE MLAMLA
Stun grenades and water cannon are used to disperse student protesters at UWC main gate. SISONKE MLAMLA

WATCH: UWC students continue protests over varsity lodging

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Oct 25, 2019

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Cape Town - Protest action by students at UWC on Thursday led to heavy traffic congestion around Robert Sobukwe Road and Symphony Way in Bellville.

On Friday morning, the university revealed that protest action had started up again, and the campus community was advised that "entrances are being blocked".

"If you're not able to gain access to campus then please work remotely," the UWC twitter account tweeted.

According to UWC spokesperson Gasant Abarder, students had been picketing since Tuesday and Thursday they had blocked the entrance to campus because of accommodation issues involving a South Point residence in Belhar.

“Some of our students who reside at South Point, a privately owned student accommodation, received a communication informing them that they may be not be accommodated at the residence because the company was in the process of concluding an agreement with another institution that would result in little or no bed spaces for our students.

“The university wants to avoid a situation where South Point may play it off against the other institution to increase pricing. We have been in discussions with management at the residence and we have presented our own agreement for review and discussion because we would like to maintain the number of bed spaces we have at the moment,” Abarder said.

He also said that since April, UWC had been engaging bulk private accommodation providers in preparation for the 2020 academic year.

“These discussions are still ongoing and the plan is to ensure that there are additional bed spaces that are available to funded students, as landlords insist that they only accept fully funded students,” said Abarder.

South Point, after consultations with UWC representatives, had confirmed that the discussions were ongoing and feedback would be provided to the university next week, with the resolution considering both short and mid-term solutions, including plans supported by the Department of Higher Education and Training to build a new student residence with a capacity of 2700 beds.

Abarder said UWC deans and department heads were looking into the few assignments and tests which were still to be completed and lecturers would communicate alternative arrangements as soon as possible.

Lectures at the university will end for the year on Tuesday.


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Cape Argus

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