Charges laid over Max Price punching incident, protesters force closure of main library on campus
UCT update on recent events
18 October 2016
The University of Cape Town issued an update on developments on campuses today (Tuesday, 18 October 2016). Please see the below communication sent to the campus community.
Dear colleagues and students
This is an update on recent events at the University of Cape Town.
The situation has been particularly difficult on UCT campuses today – with reports of violence, harassment and intimidation. The executive condemns the continuing violence on campus, and would like to thank those students and staff members who are doing everything they can to support the completion of the academic project for 2016. The efforts made by all of those who want to work and study are greatly appreciated.
Protest action on campus today
UCT Libraries tried to provide services today, and were intermittently closed and opened depending on events. The Jammie Shuttle service has also been disrupted today.
Events on campus are unfolding rapidly. Once updated information has been verified, it will be loaded ontothe UCT website.
Protesters blocked Baxter Road outside the Tugwell residence this morning.
At about 09:15 the protesters moved towards Kopano residence, where members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) fired two stun grenades and a smoke grenade to disperse the crowd. The protesters then regrouped and marched through lower campus. A fire extinguisher was set off at the School of Economics, but protesters were prevented from entering the School of Economics and Kramer Law buildings.
At around10:30protesters gathered at the Jammie steps. They then split into groups and went into different buildings on upper campus, disrupting activities. At about12:30a group of protesters broke into the main library on upper campus and forced its closure.
SAPS and Public Order Policing are on campus along with private security and are attempting to bring the situation under control.
Sewage containers on campus
Yesterday, 17 October, sewage was thrown in the Kramer Law Building, which resulted in the evacuation of all staff and students in the building. UCT condemned this action, which also posed a health risk to people in the building. Overnight the Kramer Law Building has been restored due to the tireless work of the cleaning crew.
On Mondaynight five containers of raw sewage were found and removed from outside two UCT buildings: the School of Economics building on middle campus and the Steve Biko Students’ Union building on upper campus.
Today a car carrying four students and sewage canisters was intercepted on Woolsack Drive. The students were apprehended and later released by the SAPS.
Charge of assault laid
UCT has laid a charge of assault against two individuals after an altercation outside the Bremner building on Friday, 14 October 2016, with Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price.
After engaging with a group of protesters, Dr Price indicated that he wished to leave as he was due at a Council meeting. Some of the protesters encircled him and started jostling him. Dr Price was attempting to walk away when he was punched. Members of the SAPS stepped into the group to escort Dr Price from the area. Scuffles and pushing escalated and police officers resorted to the use of stun grenades to disperse the group.
Arrest and bail application by Mr Masixole Mlandu
Mr Mlandu was arrested on 12 October after he allegedly broke through the door into the offices of the Campus Protection Services (CPS). He is also alleged to have intimidated CPS staff and forced them to be released from their work. The charges against him include malicious damage to property, housebreaking and intimidation.
The actions of the protesters were in direct contravention of a specific agreement (made between protesting students and the university’s executive) that CPS officers are a core service and should be allowed to continue their work.
While UCT does not condone the alleged actions that have resulted in charges against Mr Masixole Mlandu, the university recognises that the current progress of mediated negotiations with protest leaders has been compromised by his arrest and detention as he is one of the representatives in the mediation. UCT has therefore indicated that it will not oppose his application for bail, but required him to commit to observing the UCT code of conduct in the future.
Blended learning programme
With the significant disruptions on campus, teaching and learning is taking place by means of a variety of different approaches, including blended learning, which relies heavily on digital and online materials. Each faculty and discipline is developing its own approach to teaching and is communicating with its students accordingly.