Swedish envoy disappointed after poo flung at CPUT lecture

2016-10-05 16:12
(Thulani Gqirana, News24)

(Thulani Gqirana, News24)

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Cape Town - A joint Swedish-South African chemistry lecture was disrupted at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) in Bellville on Wednesday morning when students started flinging human waste about.

Newly-inaugurated Swedish ambassador to the country, Cecilia Julin, told News24 that some students had entered the building soon after the lecture started at 10:00.

"The vice chancellor had just finished his speech of welcoming and they threw the containers of human faeces on the floor of the auditorium."

Julin said it became impossible to continue and that they had "quietly evacuated".

She said she was disappointed, but saw the incident within the context of what was happening at universities around the country.

CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley said protesting students had forced their way into the auditorium and "splashed faeces on a person".

Science fair exhibitions damaged

Apart from international guests, school children from a leadership college were also in the venue to present at a science fair.

"That is the saddest part," said Julin.

She said faeces were thrown at the entrance where the fair was and that some exhibitions were destroyed.

"I felt very sorry for the high school children. Parts of their presentations were torn down."

Kansley said the guests were evacuated to the main administration building and organised "safe passage" by the police.

Staff left soon after. A decision still had to be made on whether they would return.

Second lecture cancelled

The Nobel Inspired Lecture Series was hosted by the National Research Foundation in conjunction with the Swedish Embassy in Pretoria.

A second lecture in the series, focused on peace, had been scheduled at the University of Fort Hare on Friday.

Julin said a decision was made on Tuesday to cancel that lecture.

"We are disappointed. We will look at the possibilities of doing this lecture digitally in maybe a week or two."

A number of similar incidents were reported at CPUT on Wednesday.

Kansley said faeces were flung onto some lecturers' cars.

Classes suspended

In the early hours of the morning, faeces were dumped in the security office of CPUT's Bellville campus.

Classes were suspended at CPUT, the University of the Western Cape and the University of Cape Town.

UCT believed the situation on campus was reaching a point where there was a risk of "serious conflict and escalating violence".

The university said it felt it would not be able to contain this without a very large increase in security and police intervention.

"This would only serve to make matters worse and may lead to injury and even lives being at risk."

All UCT campuses were closed for the rest of the week.

Read more on:    cput  |  cape town  |  university fees  |  university protests

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