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CPUT suspends operations on all campuses in 'interests of safety'

Damage to buildings on Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s Bellville campus after last week's protests. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Damage to buildings on Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s Bellville campus after last week's protests. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 9, 2020

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Cape Town – Due to the continued volatile situation on the Bellville campus and in the interests of staff and students safety, the executive management of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) has decided to cease all university operations on all campuses on Monday.

This involves academic, administration and support services across all campuses. 

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Staff have been advised to work from home, if possible, and all university operations will resume on Tuesday.

Public violence and vandalism had prompted CPUT to extend its late registration closing date for all existing students, both undergraduate and postgraduate, as well as for those who have applied to register and have received acceptances from the university.

There have been several incidents of violence at the institution’s Bellville campus over the past week, with at least 17 cars damaged and food trucks set alight.

In an email to students, the university’s registrar said: “In light of the disruptions experienced over the last few days, and the subsequent recommendation, the registrar has extended the late registration closing date to March 11, 2020.”

The protest actions started last Monday, when classes where abruptly interrupted.

CPUT's executive management has since received a list of 13 demands.

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These include cancelling the suspension of students following the #FeesMustFall protests; the provision of more residences and housing; appointing a new caterer and offering more affordable food; and the resignation of the executive director of finance.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a student leader said they were not behind the violence. He said five students had been suspended and four had been arrested in connection with violence on Thursday night.

The arrested students are expected to appear in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court on charges of public violence today, he said.

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“We will be supporting our comrades at court. From there we are

going back to the vice-chancellor to request a response to our demands. We want their response, we are not going back to class until executive management responds and meets our demands.

“Mass meetings will also be held in Cape Town and at the Mowbray campus (today), where they are planning to shut down as well,” the student leader added.

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Meanwhile, following a meeting with the South African Union of Students on Friday, Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister Blade Nzimande said he would continue

to monitor the developing situation at CPUT.

Cape Times

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