Private security withdrawn, but talks continue at CPUT campuses

2016-11-15 19:23
(Tammy Petersen, News24)

(Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - The Cape Peninsula University of Technology has withdrawn private security from its campuses, the institution said on Tuesday.

But by lunch time, staff at the Cape Town campus said students removed them from their offices, despite a court interdict and an agreement that mediation would continue between university management and students.

University management and students reached an agreement on Monday, and it was decided that exams would be pushed back by a week.

The removal of private security from the CPUT campuses was among students’ demands in mediation attempts over the weekend.

University spokesperson Lauren Kansley said no violence had taken place after the withdrawal of the private security. A mass meeting was planned at the Cape Town campus on Tuesday.

Exam date

READ: Violent protests due to leaders who don’t listen - Mahlobo

Exams were meant to commence on Monday morning. However, the institution informed students at the 11th hour that they would be postponed to Monday, November 21 to allow for negotiations to continue in an attempt to ensure stability on its campuses.

In turn, no disruptions would take place during the examination period.

The university obtained an urgent interdict from the Western Cape High Court restraining protesting students from obstructing campus activity or exams.

Former rector of the Peninsula Technikon, Dr Franklin Sonn, was at the Bellville campus on Tuesday to share his insights and advice regarding the conflict.

Acting vice-chancellor Dr John Volmink, who invited him, said Sonn’s institutional memory and career as a respected educationist meant he had unique insight into the challenges facing the institution, CPUT said in a statement.

Sonn said that there was a deficit of trust and confidence among different role players in the university community and that he understands students’ anger.

“Our kids, I can cry about them. They are so deeply wounded. They feel denied,” he said.

Students needed to feel included in university life and not watch from the side-lines as decisions were taken for them, Sonn told the university.

At least 20 CPUT students had been arrested since the start of the campus unrest.

In October, it cancelled classes for the rest of the year after daily marches and protests, during which students flung faeces and set fire to vehicles and buildings.

Four weeks ago, two security guards were locked into a burning building at the Bellville campus during midnight protests. They suffered smoke inhalation and minor injuries.

Read more on:    cput  |  university protests  |  university fees

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