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UCT to continue negotiations with protesting students

The university has suspended its classes for the week as it seeks to resolve the students' issues.

FILE: The UCT library closed due to student protests. Picture: Natalie Malgas/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The University of Cape Town (UCT) is to continue negotiations with student activists this week.

Academic activities at the institution will remain suspended for a second week. It's one of several universities in the country which have been affected by anti-fees protests.

In a bid to ease tensions on the campus in the wake of protests over 2017 tuition funding, management plans to engage students during the course of this coming week.

This past week has seen #FeesMustFall-related protest action being rolled out on various university campuses around the country.

Many of the protests have been marked by violence and classes have been disrupted.

UCT spokesperson, Elijah Moholola, says management hopes to resolve some of the issues within the next few days.

"There will be engagements internally with students as well as other stakeholders. As well there will be another phase of engagement nationally."

Stellenbosch University, in contrast, plans to proceed with classes and with the writing of tests.

Maties' management has urged protesting students to respect the right of other students and staff to continue with their work.

TWO EASTERN CAPE UNIVERSITIES REMAIN CLOSED

At least two Eastern Cape universities will remain closed today as fees protests across the country continue.

Rhodes University management has warned that continued disruptions may force it to shut down the university.

In an email to students and staff yesterday, Rhodes University vice-chancellor Sizwe Mabizela says management is working tirelessly to lobby government to implement free education for the poor.

Mabizela also emphasised that students who come from households with an income of less than R600,000 a year will not be affected by a fee hike in 2017.

He says if the current situation persists, management will be forced to close the university, including the residences and send all students home.

The vice-chancellor warns that a closure will have dire consequences, not only for students who will not complete the academic year but also for the town of Grahamstown, which relies on the university economically.

Meanwhile, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Management, will decide later today, whether it will resume academic activities for the rest of the week.

The #FeesMustFall group is demanding that the institution not increase fees for next year and that it pressures government to implement free tertiary education for the poor.