High Court grants interim interdict for continuation of UCT operations

2016-10-25 23:27
Max Price (Netwerk24)

Max Price (Netwerk24)

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Cape Town - The Western Cape High Court on Tuesday granted an interim interdict to ensure that operations at UCT continue.

Vice Chancellor Max Price said the institution would have preferred not to have pursued this route, but that the actions of some of the protesters left them “no other option”.

“We are deeply concerned for the safety of staff and students alike (including protesters) and we are extremely worried that the violence and unlawfulness that some protesters are engaging in presents a real risk to life and limb,” he said in a statement.

“The interim interdict also prohibits the disruption of exams, libraries, research and other laboratories, and the ability of any of the university’s employees to do their work.”

Price said the university’s executive had been informed of several arrests of people taking part in the protest over the past few days.

“We have also been alerted to ongoing disruption and criminal activity across campus this morning and yesterday, including the burning of four vehicles. We have requested the South African Police Service [SAPS] to give us full details of the arrests made and the charges that will be laid against those arrested.”

He said according to information provided by the police, one student was arrested on Monday for allegedly stealing keys from a Jammie Shuttle and interfering with its operation.

Three others, one a student and two cleaning staff members of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, were arrested at CPUT for alleged malicious damage to property, he said.

“One other UCT student was arrested this morning near College House on UCT’s campus for charges related to alleged intimidation of others and public violence. Three more arrests [one student and two non-students] were made in a separate incident when stones were allegedly thrown.”

He said police intervention was necessary when unlawfulness was involved.

“I want to state clearly that I understand that only some protesters make themselves guilty of unlawful acts. Yet these unlawful actions actually retard the engagement process that may lead us out of the situation we are in because protesters feel that their members and leaders are being targeted and that negotiation is happening in bad faith.

“I assure you that, as far as we can tell, none of the people arrested have been detained for their leadership of peaceful protests, but rather for allegedly unlawful activity. Such activity not only obliges the university management to escalate security measures, but undermines the engagement process.”

The UCT Senate met on Monday to discuss the situation on campus and passed a resolution, Price said.

“It commits the executive to consult and determine the limits of legitimate protest action on campus as well as the appropriate interventions when protests exceed legitimate bounds. This is important work and will begin immediately.”

He also said that he believed that an Institutional Reconciliation and Transformation Commission (IRTC) on campus would “help us to hear and acknowledge the hurt and anger on all sides”.

Protesters have been calling for a “Shackville TRC” to address the disciplinary measures taken against students involved in February’s protests in which a shack was erected on upper campus as a symbol of the struggle for student housing and financial exclusions.

The shack was later demolished by security.

Students were calling for the university to reinstate students who had been suspended, interdicted, or expelled following the Fees Must Fall protests.

“For the present I want to register that I am deeply saddened by the effects of the current crisis on the social fabric of our university. I recognise that not only must we weather the current storm, we will need to work to restore trust and to repair relationships. I see the IRTC as one instrument for this,” Price said.

Read more on:    uct  |  max price  |  cape town  |  university fees  |  university protests

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