Police arrive as students block UCT council members from leaving

2015-04-08 20:41
(Lauren Hess, News24)

(Lauren Hess, News24)

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Cape Town – Two police Casspirs have arrived at UCT's upper campus after students blocked council members from leaving a meeting, according to reports.

eNCA reported that police were spotted outside the building.

UCT SRC president had suggested that students wait outside the room for 10 minutes.

According to reports the SRC president said that the Cecil John Rhodes statue would be removed on Thursday and be moved to Heritage Western Cape.

News24's Lauren Hess, who is reporting from the scene, said Vice Chancellor Max Price said he had not called in police or extra security, but added that the regular campus security was on duty.

Earlier students stormed the room where the University of Cape Town council members are meeting to discuss whether the state of Cecil John Rhodes will be removed from it's campus.

On Wednesday students have told the council that the meeting was not legitimate because there are no black women representatives.

"Council tells students they either go and let meeting continue or meeting will be delayed," Hess reported.

The council announced that the meeting could not continue after students insist they are staying and want to observe.

Council members trying to leave the meeting room have been blocked by students as shouting matches between various parties take place.

Hess tweeted: "Room doors closed. Will students let council pass?"

One council member, who is in need of his diabetes medication, is not being allowed to leave the room as student continue to block the room.

On Wednesday evening students started beating bins and singing songs as the announcement by the University of Cape Town’s council on whether the statue of Cecil John Rhodes is to be removed or not, was delayed.

As the sun set students started gathering on UCT campus to await the council’s ruling, but as the minutes passed clearly agitated students received no response.

The announce was due to take place at 18:30, but just before 19:00 the crowd moved outside Allan Cormack House.

One student was heard saying: “These people, they take long!”

On March 27, the university said its Senate had "voted overwhelmingly in favour of recommending to council that the statue of Rhodes be moved when council holds its special sitting on Wednesday, April 8 2015".

Price wanted the statue moved and not destroyed, but his suggestion was rejected by some students.

The matter has also sparked defacement of other colonial-era monuments around the country, including a statue of King George VI at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the throwing of green paint on a statue of Paul Kruger in Pretoria.

The EFF has admitted to defacing Kruger’s statue.

Rhodes was a British colonialist, businessman, mining magnate and politician in southern Africa. He founded Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) which was named after him in 1895. Rhodes University is also named after him.

Read more on:    uct  |  cecil john rhodes  |  cape town  |  education  |  monuments debate

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