Protesting UCT students demand Masixole Mlandu’s release

Student leader Masixole Mlandu, who is a key figure in the protests, was arrested last week.

FILE: Supporters of UCT student activist Masixole Mlandu gather outside Wynberg Magistrates Court. Picture: Monique Mortlock/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Protesting University of Cape Town (UCT) students today demanded the release of student leader Masixole Mlandu, before they stop disruptions on campus.

Mlandu, who is a key figure in the protests, was arrested last week after allegedly breaking into the offices of the campus protection services in contravention of a court interdict barring him from campus.

Attempts to open UCT's library facilities have been marred by violent protest action.

Some protesters said they have tried to engage students who were studying inside the facility, but when security guards tried to stop them from entering, many tried to force their way into the library by ramming doors and windows with dustbins.

One student activist, Sinawo Thambo, says negotiations with university management will continue only if Mlandu is released from Pollsmoor Prison, where he is being held pending a bail hearing on Friday.

"We can't make a concession with regards to continuing negotiations while Mlandu is in prison. Mlandu is a key stakeholder in the negotiations as a student leader and has to be involved in that process."

The Chancellor Oppenheimer Library where protesters tried to gain assess earlier today remains closed.