Cape Town - The University of Cape Town's (UCT) executive on Tuesday confirmed it had requested members of the Rhodes Must Fall (RMF) movement to relocate its “Shackville” to an alternative space nearby its current location.
“The reason the management has asked RMF to move the shack is that it has caused interference with traffic flow, even to the point of causing a backlog on the M3 today,” said Elijah Moholola, head of media liaison at UCT. “It interferes with the freedom of movement of other staff and students, and due to bins being set alight, it causes safety risks,” he said.
Moholola said the university had identified a space where the shack could remain, further stating that they had also offered to assist RMF in moving the shack. The shack was placed on UCT's upper campus in protest at the institution's alleged discrimination against black students in placing them in accommodation.
The university has refuted the allegation, but conceded there was an accommodation shortage at UCT. “We reiterate that RMF can continue their protest action, but should do so in a manner that does not interfere with the rights of others, cause safety risks or interfere with UCT operations,” said Moholola.
“Their claims that we are closing down their protest action are wholly incorrect.” Moholola also referenced UCT management's letter to RMF requesting the move. In it, management identified the green lawn in front of Smuts Hall and stated that at 4pm on Tuesday, campus security would assist them in the move.
They notified RMF that if the structure was still in its current location by 5pm, they would have no option but to remove it. At 6pm, images of the unmoved shack circulated on social media with captions such as “#UCT Current situation”. Images of burning rubbish bins were also circulating on Twitter at the time.