Dear colleagues and students
This morning we made the decision again to close down the Upper, Lower and Middle Campuses at the University of Cape Town. Again, we do so because protesters barricaded entrance roads and the situation presented a safety and security risk to staff and students.
We are continuing to attempt to create a dialogue with the protesters and will continue to do so. We are also constantly reassessing the facts on the ground and keeping an eye on the national situation. We are attending a meeting called by Minister of Higher Education Dr Blade Nzimande this morning, and several other meetings with critical stakeholders in an attempt to make progress on getting the operations back to normal.
The situation yesterday and today is very, very problematic for us. Some examinations could not take place and work was disrupted everywhere on campus. Last evening the protesters who occupied Bremner were repeatedly asked by the Executive, the sheriff of the court and the SA Police Service to refrain from disrupting operations or from occupying the building, but some remained inside Bremner.
After some hours, the police proceeded to remove the students from the building. Several students were taken to Rondebosch SAPS station and later released. This morning, 24 protesters (including students) were arrested by the police for setting up barricades. They are in breach of the court order and may face charges.
I must stress that we remain very committed to discussions with any group related to fees, outsourced services or any other matter. However, it is critical that the operations at UCT are unaffected by unlawful interruptions. Protesters who participate in unlawful behaviour are in contravention of the court order.
We have been informed that the protesters have called a midday meeting today. We call again on all protesters to ensure that their actions are lawful and that they refrain from disruption and intimidation.
I am asking all staff and students to not involve themselves in altercations and to refrain from abusive or disrespectful behaviour, as well as to report any such incidents to Campus Protection Services at 650 2222/3.
We remain close to the situation on the ground and will update you on a continuous basis. Please watch the UCT website for urgent updates.
Professor Francis Petersen
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