Government, EFF applaud UCT's statue removal

Blade Nzimande has previously voiced his support for the Cecil John Rhodes statue's removal.

FILE: Students march through UCT protesting that the Rhodes statue symbolises racism. Picture: Masa Kekana/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Department of Higher Education and Training says the decision to remove the Cecil John Rhodes statue from the University of Cape Town (UCT) is in line with the department's vision.

Minister Blade Nzimande has previously gone on record voicing his support for the removal of the statue.

Yesterday during a senate meeting, a unanimous motion was made to remove it.

WATCH: Rhodes must fall.

UCT says the statue will be covered up pending a final decision on whether it should be permanently moved from its prominent position on campus.

The department's Khaye Nkwanyana says they are encouraged by the decision.

"The minister has said the statue must be removed and be put in a museum."

The Arts and Culture Department says the decision acknowledges the sensitivity around colonial symbols in South Africa.

The department's Sandile Memela said, "It's a step in the right direction and sends a resounding message."

The Economic Freedom Fighters says the institution's decision is a step in the right direction.

The party's Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said, "We applaud the university for supporting the notion that the statue must come down."

UCT vice-chancellor Max Price says senate's decision is the first in a three part process that would have to be followed to move the statue.

The motion will be handed to the university's council which is expected to make the final decision on 8 April.

Students who've been protesting for three weeks say the statue represents racism and a lack of transformation at the institution.

Some students are still occupying Bremner Hall until the university's council makes the final decision.