UCT says it has made progress with transformation

Parliament’s portfolio committee on Higher Education is meeting with UCT’s SRC and management. The university’s seen sporadic protests in recent weeks.

FILE: UCT vice-chancellor Max Price stands among protesting UCT students. Picture: Monique Mortlock/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Management at the University of Cape Town (UCT) says it has made tremendous progress with transformation.

Parliament’s portfolio committee on Higher Education is meeting with UCT’s Student Representative Council (SRC) and management. The university’s seen sporadic protests in recent weeks.

Students have raised several issues they say are fueling demonstrations, including growing frustration over the Fees Commission report, which has yet to be officially released.

UCT vice-chancellor Max Price explained to Members of Parliament fee hikes are inevitable.

Price says progress has been made on other issues such as dealing with sexual offences on campus and transforming the curriculum.

Price adds UCT’s management is constantly speaking to students, and not only through the SRC.

SUICIDES

The UCT vice-chancellor also says there appears to have been an increase in suicides on campus over the past year.

Six students have died due to unnatural causes, but not all have been confirmed as suicide.

Last week, students protested against various issues, among them: the need for better management of mental health issues.

Price says not all of the six unnatural deaths have been confirmed as suicides, as some may have been due to an accidental drug overdose.

“Only a toxicologist, only a medical investigation which leads to an inquest can answer that question. And so those have not been completed and, unfortunately, it can take a year sometimes to complete.”

Price has, however, admitted there seems to be an increase this year.

“Let’s say that there’ve been six unnatural deaths that seem to be suicides in the past year alone. And in most years there are one or two, so there seems to be an increase.”