UCT students, staff to face disciplinary action for illegal protest

Four students are already facing charges for their involvement in the illegal occupation of Avenue House.

FILE: UCT students gather at the Jameson Hall staircase to discuss their next move in the Rhodes Must Fall Movement. Picture: Masa Kekana/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Two hundred and forty University of Cape Town (UCT) students and staff members could find themselves in hot water for their involvement in campus protests earlier this year.

The university has sent each of them letters asking them to confirm whether or not they were involved in the illegal occupation of an administrative building which ended last month.

Four students are already facing charges for their involvement in the illegal occupation of UCT's Avenue House.

At the time of their hearing, university management was handed a document listing the names of around 240 students and staff members, whom the document claims supported and were complicit in the protest.

If they plead guilty to their involvement, they will receive a reprimand and would have to serve 10 hours of community service.

Transformation protests, under the banner Rhodes Must Fall, led to the removal of a statue of the British colonialist from the university's upper campus in April.

It was hailed as a historic moment and turning point for transformation at the campus.

The university received a permit from Heritage Western Cape to have the statue temporarily removed on 9 April and stored at an undisclosed location until a final decision is made on its fate.

However, the Heritage Western Cape has the final say in deciding where the statue will be permanently housed.

UCT appointed an independent heritage practitioner who will make the application to have the statue permanently removed.

In the application, the practitioner will submit an assessment of the history, context and heritage of the statue and consider the public's input.