Dear colleagues and students
I am writing to inform you that university operations will proceed as normal tomorrow. Whilst we cannot predict all possible scenarios, we wish for the University of Cape Town to return to normal business as soon as possible. A High Court interdict granted on Monday, 19 October 2015, prevents any protester from interfering with university business. We are appealing to all the protesters to adhere to the order of the Court. In the event of any interference, we will return to court and take the necessary steps to protect campus operations. We are, of course, also critically concerned with the safety of all staff and students and are making our decisions with this in mind. Please watch the UCT website for any further developments.
I am asking staff who work in Bremner in particular to await a communication from their direct line manager in the morning prior to returning to their offices.
I also wish to give you an update on the events today. The normal operations of the university came to a halt due to unlawful protest action.
Some members of the Executive, led by myself, attempted on several occasions to persuade the protesters to refrain from interfering with university operations. A group of protesters then gathered at Bremner at midday. We met the protesters on the steps of Bremner and again attempted to persuade them to meet and to discuss issues but to refrain from interfering with any operations of the institution or anyone else's rights. The group did not allow the four senior members to leave. They made several demands and insisted on their demands being met prior to their leaving. The group then broke the gate of Bremner and occupied the building.
In the interim, the institution applied for an interdict from the High Court to prevent protesters from interfering with university operations. This order was granted and was served on the protesters. The Executive was then allowed to leave. The sheriff instructed the occupiers to leave the building by 20h15. They refused.
I hope that all staff and students will return to campus tomorrow and will proceed with the important business of preparing for exams. Of course, the Bremner staff, as stated above, should await communication from their direct line managers.
In the event of any changes to the situation, I will communicate with you again.
Professor Francis Petersen
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