By Jarita Kassen and Tamutswa Mahari
Following the mass meeting on Graca Lawns on Wednesday 25 October, protesting students barricaded the Lower Campus Jammie Stop at 6 a.m. this morning. More students proceeded to barricade Upper Campus near the Sports Center and the North Stop on Madiba road. Jammies were prevented from leaving their depots as protesting students had blocked the entry points. Students and staff were advised to use alternative forms of transport to get to campus by UCT Management.
In response to the protesting students, SAPS has been stationed at all the barricades with a water cannon placed at the North Stop barricade but no force had been used against the protesting students. The SAPS stationed at Lower Campus removed the barricades and threatened to arrest protesters. Students at Lower Campus were advised to move as they were “sitting on public property.”
SRC President, Seipati Tshabalala who said she is acting as a “peace monitor”, stated, “The students are currently walking on the zebra crossing and they are not interfering with anything that pertains with public law and public property. We encourage Vice Chancellor Max Price to come engage with police officers as students are unable to control the escalation of the situations.” Tshabalala proceeded to call Dr Price directly and he advised students, “to move out of the road and the police will not barricade the road.” Dr Price emphasized the violation of students’ rights as the university cannot afford to lose an academic day.
UCT management has released a statement stating that all face-to-face classes have been cancelled for today and tomorrow, Friday 27 October. This excludes Health Science campus as well as Graduate School of Business.
Student leader Athabile Nonxuba announced a mass meeting to be held on Jammie Plaza today at 1pm. All students have been invited to meet and go on what has been coined a “tour of the campus.”
A student witnessing the demonstrations provided the following comment, but has chosen to remain anonymous. “I find the protesting students hypocritical. They claim the protests are for us but they are denying us the education that we have paid for.”
UCT has stationed private security from TSU Protection Services at all high-risk buildings.