UCT student's suspension lifted on 'technical grounds'

2015-06-12 15:26
Chumani Maxwele protests near the Cecil Rhodes statue at UCT. (Twitter)

Chumani Maxwele protests near the Cecil Rhodes statue at UCT. (Twitter)

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Cape Town - University of Cape Town student Chumani Maxwele has had his suspension from the institution lifted by an independent tribunal.

Maxwele was suspended from the university in May following an altercation with a lecturer over study space on campus during a public holiday.

In a statement issued late on Wednesday, the university said the 30-year-old’s suspension was lifted on technical grounds.

“On May 7, Mr Maxwele was given a provisional suspension order because his continued presence on the campus was considered to pose a threat to the maintenance of good order. This provisional suspension order was made final after a hearing,” the statement read.

“Mr Maxwele subsequently appealed to the independent university student disciplinary tribunal against the decision to make the suspension order final. The tribunal today [Wednesday] heard the appeal and has ruled that the suspension be set aside on technical grounds.”

Maxwele, who infamously threw human waste on the university's Cecil John Rhodes statue on March 9, was entitled to a disciplinary hearing 72 hours after a provincial suspension order was handed down on May 7.

A hearing did not take place before the deadline of noon on Sunday, May 10, the tribunal found, and the final suspension order was thus declared invalid.


Maxwele had previously accused the university of using his suspension to achieve political ends.

"It's a matter of politics," he told News24 in May.

"We [are] dealing with a political problem at UCT. We are dealing with transformation ... [and] they are intimidating us."

University spokesperson Gerda Kruger said on Monday these claims are baseless.

“The organisations that claim that the University of Cape Town is acting in ‘conspiracy’ against Mr Chumani Maxwele have no basis for their claims.

“Nor do they have any basis for claiming that UCT has taken action to ‘silence the voices of student activists’.

“On the contrary, the university has extended a great deal of latitude to students and staff who have conducted protest action, including the offer of amnesty to protesters for a specific period during which they illegally occupied two UCT buildings and disrupted a council meeting.”

The university intends issuing a new suspension order on Maxwele after June 15 and will then provide him with a hearing within the specified 72 hours.

To read the University of Cape Town’s full statement regarding Maxwele’s suspension, click here.

To read Maxwele’s version of events leading to his suspension, click here.

Read more on:    uct  |  cape town  |  education

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