Protesting students block UCT entrances


A road traffic sign diverts motorists from the M3 highway exit as students blockade an entrance to the University of Cape Town (UCT) campus under the banner #FeesMustFall, Cape Town, 20 September 2016.

JOHANNESBURG – Student protests look set to continue at universities across the country on Monday, as students  opposed to the reopening of facilities continue their actions.


The University of Cape Town's Student Representative Council (SRC) says it doesn't support the resumption of classes on Monday.

Vice-Chancellor Max Price had announced the university would fully reopen today.

Students at the University of Cape Town blocked three entrances to the campus on Monday morning as classes were due to resume.

Private security was seen entering the campus earlier in the morning.

The blockade also affected the university's shuttle service.

A group of students who want academic activity suspended temporarily are calling for an inquiry into the Shackville protest in February.

Students had erected a shack on the campus as a symbol of financial and housing issues. 

UCT statement on #UCTshutdown

— Lester Kiewit (@lesterkk) October 3, 2016

One student leader said the fresh protests were prompted by UCT management's arrogance.

#UCT students occupying South entrance to upper campus.

— Lester Kiewit (@lesterkk) October 3, 2016

Student Activist Sinawo Thambo said,“We had negotiations with the university’s management and the vice chancellor. And those negotiations broke (down) because the institution is arrogant and wants to stick to a date... we had offered the university two weeks of closing so that we can resolve the (issues).”

Private security and police arrive at UCT.

— Lester Kiewit (@lesterkk) October 3, 2016

Wits University

Wits University has also  agreed to re-open this week with all staff expected to return to work today.

Wits staff to return on Monday, academic programme to resume on Tuesday:

— Wits University (@WitsUniversity) October 2, 2016

The University said the academic programme would resume on Tuesday and they would be prepared for any further disruptions.

The decision came after most students and staff voted to return to class this week.

Wits University Spokesperson Shirona Patel said the university has already put in measures to help students catch up.

"Everything looks fine calm and peaceful today. So all academic staff, professional/administrative staff will return for duty today. It’s just a very busy time for the university, aside from lectures, we have applications closing for next year. We've extended that deadline until Wednesday, 5th October. We've already received something like 75 000 applications that have to be processed, for up to 7000 spaces next year."

Meanwhile, student leaders said they had come up with a proposal for free education.

They said it would cover all students, including their accommodation and they plan on presenting it to government.

Student activists vowed to continue demonstrating until their demands were met.

University students spoke to the Public Protector's office about their deep frustration over access to quality education.

Thuli Madonsela had invited students and university representatives to her Pretoria offices on Friday to discuss the current crisis in education.

Students said university management failed to engage with them or try to understand the struggles of young people. 

They also felt disappointed by what they call the silence of South African society and its institutions.

Madonsela was out of the country at the time and the meeting was hosted by Public Protector CEO, Louisa Zondo.

Fort Hare University

Fort Hare University in the Eastern Cape is set to approach the high court in Bhisho on Monday to issue an eviction order against students who won't vacate residences at the Alice campus.

The university said it considered the students illegal occupants as the campus is now closed.

Management brought forward spring break, amid the Fees Must Fall protests.

The university said the students' presence on campus posed a challenge to its efforts to restore normality, and claimed that it was a danger to employees.

Students will have the opportunity to attend court proceedings and state their case.

The university said international students, or those who live far away, could apply to be placed in suitable alternative accommodation.

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