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UCT students occupy Bremner building

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Protesting students at UCT barricaded entrances to the university on Monday over a proposed increase in study fees and the outsourcing of workers.

Police officials taped the roads off and directed traffic away but many chose to park on the side of the road or M3 highway and walk.

Protesters, who were linked to the Rhodes Must Fall campaign, did not stop persistent students and staff from entering on foot but asked them to walk around the barricade.

SEEN ON BALCONY

Student Pam Dhlamini said a woman was injured when a fellow student drove over her leg at a barricade.

She claimed that university management failed to follow through on a promise to meet their eight elected students early on Monday.

She said officials refused to meet inside the Bremner administration building for fears they would occupy it.

But by late Monday afternoon, photos on social media showed that students had managed to break a lock to the building and were seen on the balcony.

Earlier in the afternoon, around 300 students gathered at the middle campus building in scorching weather to demand a meeting.

A meeting eventually took place in the parking lot with acting vice-chancellor Francis Petersen, deputy vice-chancellor Danie Visser and his acting counterpart Anwar Mall.

The demands included that the university call an emergency council meeting for the adoption of “insourcing” and the immediate suspension of the fee increase.

Protesters also wanted lectures to be cancelled ahead of a mass meeting at 13:00 on Tuesday.

Petersen told students at that they were trying to reconvene the executive so they could make a decision.

COMMITTED TO DISCUSSION

UCT’s Pan-African Student Movement of Azania (Pasma) chairperson Athabile Nonxuba also addressed the crowd.

“It comes to a point where we are done with proposals. When we say demands, we don’t expect negotiations but we expect answers,” he said

He told management that they were either “with or against us”.

Student leaders said the crowd would not be leaving until they were given answers and that officials should stay.

In a statement on Monday, the university said its executive was committed to discussion and were “attempting to persuade the group to join them at the table for talks”.

UCT said it was concerned that certain students were interfering with the rights of the university executive to move freely.

“We remain very concerned that the protest action is unlawful and that the action of students has brought the operations of the campus to a standstill.” News24


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