Students restart CPUT protest over fees

2015-02-20 14:36

Cape Town - Students are again protesting at Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s Bellville campus on Friday, which was the scene of violent clashes between students on Thursday.

Students were said to be in “full force” outside the administration building in the centre of campus, News24 was told on Friday.

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Reports described the protests as a “race clash” but a student who was one of those blocked from leaving campus on Thursday told News24 denied this.

“We went to the back gate because we heard protesters were blocking the front gate,” Werner Krause, a second year paramedics students told News24.

But protesters were also blocking the back gate with huge rocks and pieces of wood, Krause said.

“This wasn’t about black or white. We tried to open the gate but [the protesters] started pushing. Then people started fighting. There were coloured lecturers also trying to get out.”

He said the trouble really began when someone was hit with a rock above his eye.  

“I thought he was going to collapse. He had a laceration about 3cm deep.”

He says another person’s ear was torn while another man’s jaw was dislocated in the clashes.

Krause and other paramedic students set up a makeshift triage centre at the back of a bakkie to treat the injured.

Among other demands, protesting students wanted CPUT to give blanket registration to students who were indebted to the university.

A letter from the acting vice-chancellor, Chris Nhlapo, to staff says the institution has “made an effort to arrest the accumulation of student debt”.

“This has been done without excluding academically deserving students, but through introducing measures that specify the different amounts, depending on the debt, that students should pay before they can register in line with rules of the National Credit Act,” Nhlapo writes.

However, campus security had allegedly told staff that the protests began when some black students at the Cape Town campus prevented other students from leaving campus.

White students in their cars at Cape Town campus then tried to drive through the crush of protesting students.

At some point thereafter, the protesting students took their battle to Bellville campus.

Police spokesperson Colonel Tembinkosi Kinana told News24 that no arrests had been made and was unable to say if there was currently a police presence on campus.

CPUT spokesperson Thami Nkwanyane was not available for comment at the time of publishing as he was in a meeting.

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Read more on:    cput  |  cape town  |  education  |  protests

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