Entry points at UCT were closed off to motorists as frustrated students continued with the #UCTShutdown protests. Picture: Tracey Adams
Entry points at UCT were closed off to motorists as frustrated students continued with the #UCTShutdown protests. Picture: Tracey Adams

Students continue protests at CPUT and UCT

By Zodidi Dano Time of article published Oct 3, 2016

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Cape Town - Protesting students at two universities in Cape Town shut down some lectures and barricaded entry points on Monday moring, calling for the immediate return of their expelled and suspended “cadres”.

This as President Jacob Zuma opened a university fees imbizo in Joburg on Monday to try and find a short-term solution to the crisis around university fees.

Some students from Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and University of Cape Town (UCT) decided to protest or put their pens down as part of a struggle to get suspened or expelled students returned to campus.

At CPUT a group of angry student protesters marched to the different faculties at the institution disrupting lectures.They forced their way into the business and mechanical engineering faculty, setting off the fire extinguishers inside the classes for students to vacate the lecture rooms.

Police and private security staff were called to the scene and a nyala was deployed to the university to monitor the situation.

A student leader, who declined to be named, said the vice-chancellor, Dr Prins Nevhutalu, was handed a memorandum on Friday and given 48 hours to respond.

“The VC chose not to respond and is yet again wasting time. We will not allow any learning to take place at this institution until our cadres are back to class,” the student leader said.

Meanwhile, entry points at UCT were closed off to motorists as frustrated students continued with the #UCTShutdown protests.

The protest which has entered its third week, was due to a number of issues the students had with the institution’s management.

At the entry points students laid bins on the ground, preventing cars from entering. Police and security staff monitored the situation.

Third year student and one of the organisers of the protest, Khululwa Mthi, 22, said the recent protest were sparked by three key issues that the university “refused to see to”.

She said one of those issues was the return of suspended and expelled students from past protests such as the #FeesMustFall and Shackville movements.

“The university was running SRC elections which we also be postponed because one of the candidates, who was suspended, could not campaign and therefore the elections would be unfair.

“Through this the ‘bring back our cadres protest’ was sparked and the #FeesMustFall protest revived after the Minister of Higher Education announcement of fees,” Mthi said.

Over the weekend the students, who are all protesting under the Progressive SRC Candidate banner, engaged with the university management trying to seek a solution.

It is said that during these talks the university stressed the reopening of the institution today, but the students proposed that the university be closed for another week.

“We reached a deadlock. We want for our cadres to be returned, we want the institution hold a Shackville Truth and Reconciliation Commission which will deal with all the disciplinary issues that took place and other issues which are on the list of demands submitted by our satellite campuses,” Mthi added.

Sinawo Thambo, 22, said students held a night vigil on Sunday and on Monday morning at 6am were deployed to the various entry points.

UCT spokeswoman Pat Lucas said: “A group of protesters have blocked both the north and south traffic entrances to access to Upper Campus. This activity disrupts Jammie Shuttle service as well. Campus security is monitoring the situation and seeking ways to reopen access to the roads.”

She said an executive decision by the UCT council was made to reopen the university and that lectures resume.

“UCT recognises the right to engage in protest that is within the law and adheres to the UCT code of conduct. We urge protesters to respect the rights of other members of the campus community to attend classes and arrive at work,” said Lucas.

Cape Argus

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