Cape Town - UCT Vice Chancellor Max Price has said the issues surrounding the housing shortage at the university are relevant, but that violent protest would violate the court order the institution has applied for.
The University of Cape Town is applying for an interdict to prevent violent protests after paintings and a bus were torched and Price's office was petrol bombed on Tuesday night.
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.
"These 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.
Media blocked from exiting Bremner building
News24’s Noxolo Mafu was part of the contingent of about 40 journalists who attended the media briefing at middle campus.
During the briefing, around 20 students blocked the main entrance of the Bremner building, preventing the media from exiting, she said.
“We were at the presser with the Vice Chancellor [Max Price] and deputy Vice Chancellor. As we wrapped up, around 20 students were blocking the door way.
“Security informed us and then gathered us to leave all at once via the back door.”
Mafu said there was a heavy private security presence, but that things were calm as they left through the back door around twenty minutes later.
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Eight students arrested
Eight individuals meanwhile 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.