'UCT will cover up Cecil John Rhodes statue'

UCT vice-chancellor Max Price says the statue will be boarded up and hidden from view.

FILE: Students from the SRC standing on the UCT steps with rags over the Cecil John Rhodes statue. Picture: UCT SRC.

CAPE TOWN - The University of Cape Town (UCT) says the Cecil John Rhodes statue will be covered up pending a final decision on whether it should be permanently moved from its prominent position on campus.

UCT's senate yesterday acceded to the demands of protesting students who had been calling for the statue to be taken off the campus.

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

The institution's senate yesterday voted overwhelmingly in favour of recommending to council that the statue be moved.

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.

"Council will decide on 8 April then it has to go to Heritage Western Cape because it's a national monument."

Price says in the meantime, the statue will be boarded up and hidden from view.

Student Representative Council president Ramabina Mahapi has welcomed the university's decision.

Meanwhile, the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation has proposed a statue of Graca Machel replace the Rhodes statue at the institution.

The foundation says students have a right to question the adoration of a contested historical figure, but not the right to destroy history or exclude people from participating in the debate on the basis of skin colour.

Tutu urged that the debate be continued without intimidation, violence or racism.

WATCH: Rhodes must fall.