14 October 2016
Dear colleagues and students
Announcement pending for completion of the academic year
The University of Cape Town (UCT) expects, by this weekend, to be in a position to make an announcement about how the university will complete the 2016 academic programme. UCT Council is meeting today to consider the potential plan, the current position on campus and the state of the engagements with protesting students. After the Council meeting, the plan will be communicated to all students, staff and parents. The deans and the Senior Leadership Group have met extensively to discuss scenarios and their respective consequences and are developing faculty and department-specific plans.
At the heart of the engagements is the intention to find a negotiated solution which will allow for the continuation of the academic year without further need for extensive security. Many of the engagements between the executive and the protesting students have been live-streamed and recorded. Watch the recordings and read the draft resolution, which has not been agreed to, that was shared with the campus community on 3 October 2016.
Executive condemns recent arson attack
Campus Protection Services (CPS) and the South African Police Service (SAPS) are investigating an incident in which a UCT Toyota Hilux bakkie belonging to the geological sciences laboratory was destroyed in a fire after what is believed to a be a “petrol bomb” was thrown into it at 03:00 this morning. No one was injured. The vehicle was parked adjacent to the Geological Sciences building. It appears that a second “petrol bomb” was thrown against the building. The fire was brought under control by Campus Protection Services, which prevented further damage. A ventilation system that serves the geological sciences laboratory, which houses highly sensitive equipment worth millions of rands, may have been damaged. The damage could be severe and it is possible that the ventilation system will have to be completely replaced. Members of the fire and rescue services and SAPS were called to the scene. A 500ml glass bottle that was filled with sand and smelt of petrol was found at the scene and has been handed to SAPS. A case of arson has been opened with SAPS. The university executive condemns this act of violence and destruction in the strongest possible terms.
Alleged unlawful action leads to arrest
UCT laid a charge with SAPS on 12 October 2016 after a group of about 70 protesters allegedly broke through the door into CPS offices and intimidated staff members earlier that day. One member of the group, who was identified and was allegedly leading the protesters and making demands on their behalf, was arrested by SAPS. UCT is attempting to identify other individuals from the group who may have committed unlawful actions so that legal action can be taken against them. The charges include malicious damage to property, housebreaking and intimidation. This was the second consecutive day on which a group of protesters, under the leadership of the same person, is alleged to have entered UCT offices to force workers to leave their jobs. The alleged actions of these protesters are in direct contravention of a specific agreement made between the SRC Candidates and the university's executive which determined that CPS officers are a critical service and should be allowed to continue with their work.
Misuse of fire alarms
A number of incidents of fire alarms being set off unlawfully in residences have been reported to the UCT executive. On Wednesday night a number of residences had their fire alarms set off, forcing evacuations late at night. This is dangerous because people may stop taking the fire alarm seriously. This could have disastrous consequences in the event of an actual fire. Anyone setting off a false alarm makes themselves subject to disciplinary action.
Read previous communications:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Please view the republishing articles page for more information.