‘UCT now needs a transformation charter’
The UCT chair says statue protests and outrage have been a wake-up call for the entire country.
CAPE TOWN - University of Cape Town (UCT's) council chairman Archbishop Emeritus Njongonkulu Ndungane on Friday said now that the Cecil John Rhodes statue has fallen, the institution needs to draw up a transformation charter to deal with underlying issues.
On Wednesday, the council voted in favour of removing the contentious statue and it was taken down on Thursday.
Ndungane said the month-long protests and outrage have been a wake-up call for the entire country. WATCH: #RhodesHasFallen
"Most of us in South Africa are for reconciliation and social justice and we are on that ground that was set by Nelson Mandela and we hope we can drive this for the good of all people and the deepening of democracy in our country."
Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said it's unapologetic about its support for the removal of apartheid era and colonial statues.
The Solidarity Movement has threatened to go to court to interdict leaders of the EFF from inciting people to destroy statues.
Several sculptures in the Eastern Cape and Pretoria have also been defaced in the wake of protests.
The movement's Johan Kruger says EFF leaders are inciting the vandals.
"We think that all statues in South Africa should be protected. The way to deal with any political debate is to actually have a debate and not to remove any statues."
The Paul Kruger statue in Church Square in Pretoria was defaced with green paint. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN.
But the EFF's Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said they will continue to 'support' the demands of those calling for the removal of statues.
"We even celebrate that the response of the university to its own protest. Government and all other institutions responsible for public space must follow the inspiration of UCT."
A student-cum-activist said now that the Rhodes statue has been taken away from UCT's campus, the next move is to see more black academics at the institution.
Chumani Maxwele sparked weeks of protests after he dumped human waste over the sculpture, prompting intense debate around transformation.
He said the statue's removal is only the beginning.
"The next move is to ask the vice-chancellor of the university by the end of next year, to have 50 percent of black South African professors and change the curriculum of the university. That for me is the most important thing and is the hardest challenge we're facing."
At the same time, the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) in the Western Cape said the campaign to have the Rhodes statue removed from UCT symbolises that transformation and decolonisation must take place. WATCH: Getting rid of Rhodes
WATCH: Getting rid of Rhodes
The league's Muhammad Khalid said the organisation finds it unacceptable that there are only 27 black professors at the university and not a single female black professor amongst them.
"We'll find changes in terms of admissions policy, changes in terms of the staff demographic."
The South African Heritage Resources Agency said the removal of the Rhodes statue is a sign of deeper critical issues facing students at UCT.
The agency's Veliswa Baduza says this was merely the tip of the iceberg.
"If you listen to the debates and what people are saying, they're calling for transformation. Yes, the statue is gone but what is the next issue they're going to mention if UCT is not looking at the whole holistic transformation agenda of the institution."