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UCT protest continues as students block entrances to main campus

Student protests against tuition fee increases brought the academic programme to an abrupt halt.

UCT students block the entrance on upper campus on 3 October 2016 during fees protests. Picture: Shamiela Fisher/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - As the University of Cape Town prepares to reopen after a two week shutdown, protests are continuing today.

A group of students are today continuing with Fees Must Fall demonstrations on UCT campuses.



Some of their grievances include the scrapping of tuition fees.



Protesters are sitting in the middle of a road leading to upper campus and some demonstrators are turning vehicles away.



Police, traffic and security officials are keeping a close eye on the group.

A staff member says they've been told that classes will resume today. She says no further details have been communicated to faculty members at this point.

UCT's vice-chancellor Max Price says that unless lectures resume today, the rest of the academic year may have to be scrapped.

Price says it is crucial that classes resume. "If we remain with the situation where a relatively small group of student protesters are going to hold over 20,000 other students and staff hostage, then we will have to ramp up security."



University management says it has engaged with students to end a deadlock on campus as it's a critical time in the academic year.

UCT's spokesperson Kylie Hatton says: "The university spent much of the weekend in discussion with students, trying to find a way to break the deadlock and to encourage them to support us in reopening the campus. We really are at a critical time in the academic year and are trying to find all means possible to complete this year, otherwise the knock-on effects are going to be quite substantial for the students and university."



Meanwhile, management insists classes will resume today.