CPUT activists get second chance to oppose anti-disruption order

2017-09-15 22:15
Ash and chaos in CPUT engineering workshop after it was set alight during a protest that started at 3 am. (File, Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Ash and chaos in CPUT engineering workshop after it was set alight during a protest that started at 3 am. (File, Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town - A group of Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) activists will get a second chance to argue against an order banning disruptive protests after an order granted against them in their absence on Friday was rescinded.

The order against the activists, originally granted on September 1, was made final early on Friday, but they had no representation in court.

Advocate Zeynab Titus, for CPUT, told the court in the first session that the respondents had told her earlier that they would be in court in 15 minutes, but 30 minutes had already passed.

A court official called out the names of Ayakha Magxothwa, Sivuyise Nolusu, Neo Mongale and Lukhanyo Vanqqa in the corridor, to no response.

The fifth respondent was described as anybody trespassing or unlawfully conducting themselves or occupying any of the buildings; the sixth was the minister of police.

Ndiphiwe Towe had been named in error in the original papers posted on CPUT's website.

"I submit that a proper case has been made," said Titus when no one stepped forward to oppose the order being made final.

"The final order is granted," said Acting Judge Pearl Andrews, noting the time of 10:31 as the moment the order was granted.

However, the matter went back to court over the activists' right to reply and the final order issued earlier was rescinded.

A new return date was set for October 12.

Private security guards arrested

One of the students acknowledged the decision on Twitter.

"Judge President [John Hlophe] has instructed that the final order be annulled or set aside, matter must now be heard and students be given right of reply," said Vanqqa.

In the meantime the interim order will stay in place.

In terms of the interim order, they may not bar entry to any of the university's campuses around Cape Town, including in Bellville, Granger Bay and Mowbray.

They may also not disrupt graduation ceremonies or lectures, exams and assessments, damage any property, or intimidate and harass anyone.

CPUT said that during protests a design building was petrol-bombed, stun grenades were fired to disperse a group protesting at a science fair, a fire was lit in a hall and a shotgun was stolen from a guard.

The protests appear to revolve around student accommodation, unhappiness over campus security and student safety, and insourcing. 

One of the demands made by the #FeesMustFall movement was that universities and colleges must stop using contractors for cleaning and security services. 

And in a twist on Thursday, 28 of the private security guards were arrested for allegedly being unregistered in terms of the Private Security Industry Regulation Act. They would also be charged with fraud.

Read more on:    cput  |  cape town  |  courts

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