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#Fees2017: UCT demands shutdown, CPUT files for interdict against police

Students in at CPUT say they want police to stop their brutality and protect them.

Students protesting University of Cape Town have vowed to continue shutting down lectures until their demands are met. Picture: Shamiela Fisher/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The University of Cape Town (UCT) management says protesting students have demanded classes be suspended, pending a resolution to their grievances.

This past weekend, university management met with students through a student-appointed mediator from the Cape Town Law Society in a bid to solve fees related grievances.

Management says its main focus now is to ensure lectures proceed uninterrupted.

At the weekend, university management interacted with protesting students, via a mediator, in bid to find a way forward.

The university's management asked that academic activity continue, parallel to engagement with protesting students, but the protesters want the academic year to be suspended, pending the outcome of a resolution.

UCT vice-chancellor Max Price feels this in an unreasonable request.

"The consequence from continuing to be closed are too serious on tens of thousands of students who want to finish the year - otherwise they'll have to come back next year."





Meanwhile, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology students have filed for a court interdict to prohibit police from removing demonstrators from campus.

A student says around 400 students are calmly waiting at the Cape Town campus for a response from the court.

He claims students were shot at by police earlier today.

"We are demanding that police should stop their brutality first and be part of us in such a way that they should provide protection amongst us, instead of their brutality. We were in court to demand [the interdict] so we can go on with our strike."

Academic activity at the CPUT has been suspended following protests across all its campuses.

The institution's Lauren Kansley says, "Based on ongoing security assessments taking place across all campuses, a decision has been made to keep class suspended for Wednesday only. The university remains open and all staff are expected to report for duty."

NMMU HOPES TO RESUME ACADEMIC ACTIVTIES AFTER TWO-WEEK SHUTDOWN

In the Eastern Cape, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) says despite a shutdown for two weeks it's hoping academic activity will resume soon.

University spokesperson Debbie Derry says, "The academic activities at NMMU have been halted, it's about two weeks now. We are extremely hopeful that classes will resume shortly."

At the same time, Rhodes University vice-chancellor Sizwe Mabizela has cautioned against what he calls a 'militarisation of universities' amid fees protests.

Mabizela was among several university principals who met with students, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande and President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria yesterday.

The institution has been affected by disruptions and last week a student was dragged on his back by police.

Mabizela says Rhodes, like many other universities, cannot afford private security and relies on police to maintain order.

"I hold the view that universities should never develop such capabilities, because we don't want to militarise our campuses."