Students' violent protests shut down CPUT campuses

Published Sep 12, 2017


Cape Town - The Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) was on lockdown following violent protests that disrupted activities at its Cape Town and Bellville campuses on Monday. 

An industrial design workshop building was allegedly petrol-bombed earlier before a car was stoned at the Cape Town campus. 

The Research Fair in the Major Sports Hall on the Bellville campus  was cancelled while, according to CPUT, there were “isolated cases of disruptions on both campuses”. Access to the admin building on the Bellville campus was limited to staff who worked inside the building.

Despite Monday’s protest, the university said the institution remained open and part-time classes would continue, as well as assessments. 

About 100 students protested over the contracts of insourced workers and demanded that the suspensions of four student leaders be lifted. 

Police fired rubber bullets and used stun grenades to disperse the crowd at Cape Town campus. 

Police said they were investigating an arson case and that no one was arrested. 

The four students – Ayakha Magxothwa, Sivuyise Nolusu, Neo Mongale and Lukhanyo Vanqa – face disciplinary hearings after they allegedly contravened the Academic and Student Rules and Regulations. 

This was after they allegedly disrupted a council meeting in August and threatened to burn buildings and held members of the meeting hostage. 

One of the suspended student leaders, who was present at last month’s council meeting and asked that his name be withheld, said that CPUT management had been stalling in answering serious matters for workers and that it victimised the four suspended student leaders. 

“We have been sending 
e–mails and asking that they listen to us. But every time, they do not want to listen but they want us to listen to them. 

"Last month in a council meeting they (management) had, we got there in numbers because the only way they can listen is if we talk to them face to face,” he said. 

Vanqa said CPUT’s management were willing to sacrifice the future of about 33 000 students to get rid of the four suspended students. 

“The university was warned. They were told this was going to happen if they continued with this prosecution and they did it anyway. 

"This is going to be compounded with the insourced contracts they gave to workers. They are going to join the strike because their contracts suggests that they will earn less than they used to,” he said.

He said the protest would continue until the suspended students’ hearings tomorrow. 

“UWC is just across the road. What happened at CPUT is just a matter of time that it reaches UWC, and UCT will join as they have their protest actions. This could lead to a fully-fledged Fees Must Fall before the end of the year,” said Vanqa. 

He said the charges against them were not related to any violence, but for disrespecting acting vice-chancellor Chris Nhlapo when they told him that his PhD qualification should be subjected to a peer review. 

Earlier this month, CPUT was granted a court interdict preventing the four from disrupting or interfering with any activities at CPUT. 

CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley said: “The issues relate to two matters – insourced worker contracts and the lifting of suspensions of four student leaders. I must reiterate that CPUT management has bent over backwards to accommodate insourced workers and students alike.

“A reconciliatory approach to student discipline has been rebuffed and all insourced worker queries will be dealt with directly by management during their induction. At this stage, management’s stance is that the well-being of the greater CPUT community must come first.”

Cape Times

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