Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Police save CPUT students from eviction

By Okuhle Hlati Time of article published Jan 14, 2021

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Cape Town - A group of Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) students has hailed the police for saving them after South Point residence ordered them to vacate their premises.

On Monday, more than 20 private security guards were deployed to evict the students who had remained in the Woodstock building since December.

A video shared with the Cape Times showed the security guards manhandling students, with one who attempted to enter the building to fetch his suitcases assaulted by a group of securities.

Police spokesperson André Traut said Cape Town Central police attended to a complaint at the student residence regarding an apparent eviction.

“No one was evicted and our members withdrew from the scene.”

The students were accused of refusing to go home as they allegedly completed their exams even after an eviction notice.

However, the students have refuted the claims, saying some of them, including engineering and design students, have not completed reassessments while others did not have money to go back home after the exams.

South Point has switched off all basic services, including water and electricity. The building’s management did not respond to questions by deadline.

One of the students, Neo Mongale, said they were disgruntled by the manner in which South Point handled the situation and disappointed that CPUT encouraged them.

“It is sad and unbelievable that in the midst of Covid-19 and under Level 3 private securities were hired to violently and unlawfully evict students. No valid court order was also given to us. We were just told to stand outside the premises within 15 minutes and that our bags will be given to us outside the gates. Police intervened because no one is allowed to be evicted at level 3.”

Another student said they demanded that CPUT find temporary accommodation for them.

“We don’t understand how the institution would give South Point a go ahead to evict us knowing not everyone is done with reassessments. Some are Masters students. We demand services back at the residence with immediate effect and that they get rid of their trigger happy securities.”

CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley said they were aware of the evictions.

“It is our understanding that the students have been asked to leave the residence in question since December and have ignored appeals from the service provider to do so. The students had ample opportunity to make alternative arrangements and travel home as the majority of CPUT students have done.”

Kansley said nothing about claims that some students remained to complete their 2020 academics.

“Student residences are always vacated during the festive season break to allow for deep cleaning and other essential maintenance to take place. Any further institutional response to the situation will be based on the outcome of a court order which the service provider has applied for,” she said.

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