WATCH: Entrances to UCT blocked as students protest over fee exclusion



Published Feb 16, 2022


Cape Town - Entrances at UCT are blocked and shuttle service temporarily suspended, as the Student Representative Council (SRC) beefed up its protest, alleging that the university did not fulfil its promise of ensuring that all students were registered by Monday.

Police spokesperson FC Van Wyk said approximately 200 students were protesting at the university.

Van Wyk said according to reports they are unhappy over internal issues between students and university management.

"No damages has since been reported. Public Order Police, Traffic and Metro Police are on the scene to monitor the situation," Van Wyk said.

He said three roads on campus were blocked by protesters.

SRC acting president Siya Plaatjie said it was supposed to be the second day of the first semester at UCT.

"In such a fragile time in our university, the leadership of the students finds itself between a rock and a hard place. We are baffled by the vice-chancellor's desk, one that painted our efforts to fight for those the system excludes, as regressive," Plaatjie said.

She said that tone change left the SRC discouraged in any efforts to address the plight of the children of the working class.

She said they met on Saturday, following the campus shutdown on Friday.

"The resolutions were meant to answer the question of not leaving any student behind," she said.

Plaatjie said the SRC's tabled proposal was to halt the academic year until all students were registered and council had resolved fee blocks.

She said that was rejected on the basis that a lot of effort had gone into getting staff geared up for the start of the academic year on Monday.

"They made us promise not to shutdown campus and that all students will be registered on time for the start of the academic year," she said.

— Sisonke Mlamla (@SISONKE_MD) February 16, 2022

After news of the shutdown surfaced on Wednesday morning, with some students disappointed after being turned away at lecture halls, UCT's Vice Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng released a statement on twitter.

Phakeng said: "It was disappointing that, this morning, the SRC has chosen to interfere with access control and the UCT shuttle service, disrupting some aspects of the academic programme."

She said it was regrettable that, because of those interruptions, a number of students were prevented from access to classes and other facilities.

"Over the past few days, we have been in continual communication with the SRC, providing them with updates on progress in completing the registration process for the new academic year," she said.

Phakeng said they had explained that the delays in completing registration had been caused by a number of factors, including the unprecedented numbers of students seeking personal curriculum advice after the disruptions of the past two years, and the need for students to provide outstanding information required for their registrations to be completed.

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