UCT obtaining court order against protesters
Cape Town - The University of Cape Town is applying for an interdict to prevent violent protests after paintings and a bus were torched, and Vice Chancellor Max Price's office was petrol bombed.
At a media briefing on Wednesday, Price said the university was not against protests, and acknowledged that students were often better informed about issues that needed attention.
"Thes issues are relevant. We don't want to distract from the core issues," said Price. But he added that violent protests would not be allowed.
"If you engage in this form of protest you would be in the violation of the court order," he said.
The order would be against individuals, not organisations, he said.
Eight individuals were arrested, one of whom is not a student, after the busts of Jan Smuts and Maria Emmeline Barnard Fuller were spray painted red on Monday, and art removed from buildings and set alight.
Masixole Mlandu, a leader of the Rhodes Must Fall movement which orchestrated the removal of a statue of Cecil John Rhodes last year, told News24 that seeing the symbols of white colonial repression were painful for black students. He said Smuts supported institutional segregation and was part of the genealogy of apartheid.
A bus and a bakkie were also torched, and Price's office in the Bremner Building on middle campus was petrol bombed.
Price said he was not present at the time.
The interdict would be against the individuals, and the students themselves would face a disciplinary inquiry. They would not be expelled immediately because of the inquiry's processes.
The students started their protest on Monday with the erection of a shack to highlight accommodation shortages.
Prices said the problem was that students applied to several universities to widen their chance of getting in, and this, he believed was the reason why accommodation at UCT was so scarce this year.
After the press conference, journalists were let out of a back door at the Bremmer Building to avoid protesters.
This article first appeared on News24 – see here.