#UCT to remain on high alert amid students protests

UCT vice-chancellor Max Price says management will seek to deploy private security to maintain order.

FILE: Police arrest protesting #RhodesMustFall students after they blocked Rondebosch Main Road in Cape Town. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The University of Cape Town (UCT) management said it will remain on high alert in the event of a flare up in violent protests on campus.

Earlier this week, protesters went on a rampage torching a Jammie Shuttle bus and a bakkie.

Another bus was also stoned, while an office at the university came under attack.

Six of the eight demonstrators who were arrested are students who have now been provisionally suspended.

Students are up in arms over a shortage of residence accommodation.

UCT vice-chancellor Max Price said management is anxious about a follow-up to Tuesday night's violent protests.

Price said they are on their guard to ensure the safety of students and staff.

"It means we must be on our guard and on heightened alert. And the precautions we'll take and are taking are to have private security, to have a good relationship with the Public Order Policing so that if we need to bring them in, we will."

Price said he supports Rhodes Must Fall's cause, but does not condone violent protests.

Yesterday, about 20 demonstrators staged a silent protest in the foyer of the Bremner Building.

At the same time, the UCT executive has reiterated it's working "around the clock" to find permanent accommodation for students who have not been placed at a residence.

It said while the Rhodes Must Fall fights for important student issues, members are discrediting themselves by resorting to violence.

Price has refuted claims by some student activists that there is a lack of accommodation for black students.

He said about 70 percent of beds in residences are occupied by black students.

"The Rhodes Must Fall lobby claims there's been white preference and I want to say that is completely wrong."