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UCT rejects Maxwele ‘conspiracy theory’ claims

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The University of Cape Town has rejected claims by the ANC Youth League and other organisations that student Chumani Maxwele’s suspension is part of a wider “conspiracy” against the student.

Maxwele was suspended from the university in May of this year following an altercation with a lecturer over study space on campus during a public holiday. His disciplinary hearing is still ongoing.

According to a report published in the Cape Times, ANCYL chairperson Muhammad Khalid Sayed accused the university of using “apartheid-style” tactics as part of a wider “conspiracy” against Maxwele, who was one of the students involved in the Rhodes Must Fall campaign earlier this year.

South African Students Congress (Sasco) spokesperson Luntu Sokutu also claimed the university was using administrative power to “minimise any form disagreement”.

University spokesperson Gerda Kruger, however, told News24 on Monday that accusations that his suspension was political, were baseless.

“The organisations that claim that the University of Cape Town is acting in ‘conspiracy’ against Mr Chumani Maxwele have no basis for their claims,” Kruger said.

“Nor do they have any basis for claiming that UCT has taken action to ‘silence the voices of student activists’.”

“On the contrary, the university has extended a great deal of latitude to students and staff who have conducted protest action, including the offer of amnesty to protesters for a specific period during which they illegally occupied two UCT buildings and disrupted a Council meeting.”

‘Whites should be killed’

The ANCYL and Sasco’s suggestions were made after the university released the reasons for its decision to suspend Maxwele.

The university stated that it usually kept matters of student discipline private, but felt the release of the statement was warranted after Maxwele chose to speak to the media in May, before disciplinary proceedings were completed.

Among the charges, Maxwele is alleged to have raised his voice at the lecturer; shouted aggressively that “the statue fell, now it’s time for all whites to go”; and showed aggressive behaviour, which included banging on her office door.

He was also alleged to have said: “We must not listen to whites, we do not need their apologies. They have to be removed from UCT and have to be killed.”

‘Just an allegation’

Maxwele, meanwhile, told News24 on Monday that the contents of the university’s statement was only an allegation, and an old version of events put forth by the lecturer involved in his suspension.

“This is old stuff, it is just her version of events from her affidavit,” he said on Monday.

“I released my own version of events [in May]. It’s he-said, she-said.”

Maxwele’s hearing was due to restart on June 9, having initially been postponed from June 4 and 5.

The 30-year-old has made headlines more than once in his time at the UCT, having infamously thrown human waste on the Cecil John Rhodes statue on March 9.

He was also the subject of a civil case against Jacob Zuma’s Special Protection Unit in 2011, after allegedly showing the president’s motorcade the middle finger on a Cape Town street in February 2010, and was subsequently detained. News24

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