ANC support the fall of Cecil John Rhodes statue

On Friday the UCT senate voted to remove the statue from the after a series of protests.

FILE: UCT students march down the stairs in front of the Rhodes statue on the campus. Using the slogan "Rhodes Must Fall" they are demanding it be taken down as it represents institutional racism. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The African national Congress (ANC) on Monday said it supported students who wanted to remove a statue of Cecil John Rhodes as part of their attempts to transform universities.

On Friday The University of Cape Town's (UCT) senate voted to remove the statue after a series of protests sparked debate around the country.

Students who had been protesting for three weeks said the statue represented racism and a lack of transformation at the institution.

WATCH: 'Occupy UCT'

ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe said transformation should not even be open for debate.

"The ANC believes that there can no longer be negotiations on transformation 20 years into democracy. Transformation of our institutions must be a reality as a matter of urgency."

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

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) also said the institution's decision was 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."

WATCH: Rhodes must fall.


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

The foundation said students had 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.