UCT apologises for actions taken in #FeesMustFall protests

2015-11-02 17:45
(Picture via Facebook)

(Picture via Facebook)

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Cape Town - The University of Cape Town (UCT) has apologised for the manner in which it handled aspects relating to the #FeesMustFall protests and would establish a joint task team to formulate recommendations on how protests should be handled in the future, including the presence of the SAPS on campus.

Vice Chancellor Dr Max Price said in a statement on Monday the university’s management team had learnt "many valuable lessons from the challenging times we recently went through" during the #FeesMustFall protests. He said the university hoped to "build on these lessons".

He said students and staff had shared with UCT management that various actions taken in relation to the protests resulted in "anger, anxiety, personal suffering, an exacerbation of tension and a diminishing of trust between protesters and the executive".

These actions included the university's decision to seek an interdict; naming certain individuals in the interdict and the resulting police action.

"The only intention with obtaining the interdict was to protect the UCT community against unlawful behaviour if and when it occurred. It was not obtained to prevent or curb legitimate forms of protest nor to criminalise anyone involved in such action."

He explained naming individuals in the interdict in no way criminalised them.

"An interdict is a warning not to break the law. It is not an accusation, allegation or assumption that one has already broken the law.

"If the interdict had these unintended perceptions [of criminalisation], then the executive apologises that impression was created, especially to those individuals directly affected."

Price said the interdict and the police action "quickly became an additional obstacle to resolving issues".

"We recognised this and immediately pursued the cancellation of the interdict and the dropping of all charges. We regret the situation on the ground unfolded in the way it did. It had consequences we did not intend. For that we apologise unreservedly."

Last Wednesday, charges against 19 UCT students and four workers arrested for contravening the university’s interdict were withdrawn when the group appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court.

In addition, UCT had made recommendations to the National Prosecuting Authority for the charges to be withdrawn against the 29 people involved in storming the parliamentary precinct, as the State was the complainant in that matter.

They were released on a warning on Thursday and the case postponed to February 23.

Classes resumed at UCT on Monday and a revised exam schedule has been released.

Exams scheduled to run from October 27 will now run from Tuesday November 10 to Friday November 27.

Read more on:    uct  |  max price  |  cape town  |  protests  |  education  |  university fees

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