We want a #Shackville TRC - UCT students

Cape Town - Hundreds of UCT students moved through lecture halls and computer labs on Thursday afternoon enforcing a 48-hour university shutdown in protest against #FeesMustFall-related disciplinary action.

They called on their peers to leave all buildings as they sang and danced.

In a packed mass meeting on upper campus, various student leaders had shared their unhappiness over the suspensions, expulsions and interdicts against their peers.

A disciplinary tribunal had been held earlier in the day for three students linked to #Shackville protests earlier this year.

In February, students erected a shack on upper campus as a symbol of the struggle for student housing and financial exclusions.

The shack was later demolished by security.

Police presence

Student leader Sinoxolo Boyi said the university employed top lawyers while they were expected to find law students to represent them.

He also wanted to know why only a few were charged and not everyone who was present.

When the students marched to the tribunal on Thursday morning they were met by police.

"We were met by a legion of police, with 1m guns against students who don't even have a pencil to attack."

Students spoke of the heavy-handedness of "the men in black", the private security officers who were sometimes called onto campus.

The group said on Thursday they would not stop protesting until a #Shackville truth and reconciliation commission was established.

This was apparently to push the university to take a consistent position on what the appropriate means were for dealing with political violence and action.

Protest not being undermined

In a statement, the university said it had instituted action against a very small number of students accused of assault, intimidation, arson and vandalism during the protests earlier this year.

It said the tribunal process should not be interfered with and needed to be completed. Earlier this year two students were expelled after a plea-bargaining process.

"They are appealing the sanction and so the final outcome is not yet determined," the university said.

It said it had an interdict in place against three students.

"The interdict was applied for and granted by a judge on the grounds that this was necessary to protect the campus community and property. This is subject to an appeal to be heard in the Supreme Court of Appeal on 29 September 2016."

It maintained that the tribunal and interdicts, which involved five students, was not a tactic to undermine protest.

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