UCT confirms attempts to disrupt campus activities
The University of Cape Town (UCT) confirms that there were attempts by groups of protesters to disrupt campus activities on Monday, 17 October 2016. Please see the below communication sent out to the campus community.
17 October 2016
Dear colleagues and students
We face a level of protest this morning which we are not able to contain with private security officers alone. The South African Police Service (SAPS) is on campus in an attempt to manage the situation.
As you are probably aware, groups of protesters are disrupting activities across middle and upper campus. Unlawful acts, such as breaking windows, forcing open locked doors and throwing human sewage, have been reported. There are further reports of intimidation, damage to property, violence, disruption and confrontation with security officers and we need the support of SAPS’s Public Order Policing to manage the situation.
In addition, we face a situation where we have been informed that several universities, including UCT, have been declared a level-three security situation by the national commissioner of SAPS, which, in effect, means that the Public Order Police are in command of the situation. We appeal to staff and students not to interfere with the work of members of SAPS and not to contribute to confrontations or any situation of conflict.
Protest action began early this morning when protesters blocked the Jammie Shuttle stop outside Leo Marquard residence. Jammie Shuttle services have been suspended due to the actions of protesters. A radio was reportedly taken from a security guard. The dean of law ordered the Kramer Law building evacuated after a group of about 100 protesters broke a window, forced a door open, invaded the building and threw human sewage in the corridors. Protesters also briefly demonstrated inside the School of Economics building. SAPS used a stun grenade to disperse protesters outside the RW James building after confrontations were reported between protesters and security officers.
We urge students and staff members to remain calm and to move away from any areas where protest activity may put you at risk.
UCT remains committed to attempting to manage the situation so that the academic year can be completed successfully.
Please note that the above message is shared based on information that is currently available.
Update and correction:
UCT’s security level clarified
The University of Cape Town alerted the campus incorrectly this morning that several universities, including UCT, have been declared a level-three security situation by the national commissioner of the South African Police Service, which, in effect, means that the Public Order Police are in command of the campus.
We have now learnt that this is not correct. The universities have not been so declared. The universities are not under the command of the SAPS. Vice-Chancellors remain fully in control of the campuses and work with the SAPS to manage any situation where the SAPS may be needed.
We regret the error and the confusion caused.
Statements issued by UCT Communication and Marketing Department, 17 October 2016