Reports of two hurt as UCT shuts down

UCT students protest against increased fees as well the outsourcing of services at the various campuses. Picture: IOLMojo

UCT students protest against increased fees as well the outsourcing of services at the various campuses. Picture: IOLMojo

Published Oct 19, 2015


Cape Town - Two students have reportedly been injured after a man drove through a barricade set up by protesters at the University of Cape Town, members of the Rhodes Must Fall (RMF) movement have said.

On Monday RMF members took to social media to state that a “white man” had rode over two of the protesting students at UCT, and an ambulance had been called in to assess the situation.

“Reports coming in that some white man drove through one of the barricades causing an accident. Two are injured,” tweeted the movement.

“An ambulance is on its way to UCT. One of the injured individuals is a young woman [and] it is suspected that her leg is broken,” read another tweet.

The group also tweeted a photo of the man’s car number plate.

It was later reported that one of the injured had been taken to hospital.

Students have blocked off to the university’s three campuses to protest increased fees as well the outsourcing of services at the various campuses.

Similar protests were ongoing across the country with the University of Witwatersrand having led the way and institutions such as Rhodes University and Fort Hare following suit.


On Monday UCT announced it was suspending all operations and activities until further notice due to the protest action.

“All lectures, academic and other operations on upper campus, middle and lower campus at the University of Cape Town have been suspended for today,” said UCT spokesperson Gerda Kruger, adding that UCT’s Hiddingh campus, Health Sciences campus, and the Graduate School of Business would remain open.

“The decision to do so was taken after various access roads to the university were blocked by protesters. This prevented staff and students from getting to their classes and work spaces”.


Kruger said UCT viewed the protest action as “a threat to the safety of staff and students” and that the decision to suspend all operations would allow the institution to “do the work to bring the university back to safety and normal operation”.

Kruger added that the protest action was unacceptable and unlawful.

“The actions of the protesters are de facto preventing the business of the institution to continue. Their actions prevent others from exercising their right to come and learn,” she said, adding that the university had a deep respect for protesting and had not charged any student for doing so.

However, she said, “interfering with the rights of others, and the right of the institution to continue with its normal academic functioning, is simply not acceptable”.

Kruger said the acting vice chancellor Professor Francis Petersen was engaging with students in order to return the university to its normal operations.

In response to the nationwide protests, Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande has called an urgent media briefing for Monday afternoon where he will respond to the students’ demands.


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