UCT condemns incidents at Graça Machel, Kopano, Leo Marquard and Tugwell residences

29 March 2018 | From the DVC’s Desk

Dear colleagues and students

At approximately 06:00 this morning, human waste was thrown in the kitchens of Graça Machel, Kopano, Leo Marquard and Tugwell residences by a small group of students. The University of Cape Town executive strongly condemn and deeply regret this incident and the impact that it has had on students staying in the four residences – they could not be served breakfast this morning. It also presented a significant health hazard to catering staff and to students who were in these residences at the time.

The incident has impacted the lives of 2 280 students from the affected residences. They have been given vouchers for breakfast and lunch, at significant inconvenience and disruption to their schedules. While Tugwell and Leo Marquard will be ready to serve dinner this evening, unfortunately Graça Machel and Kopano will not. Dinner arrangements are as follows: students from Graça Machel will take their dinner at Tugwell, while Kopano and Baxter residents will take their dinner at Leo Marquard.

This incident is especially inconvenient going into a long weekend. Even worse, at a time when Cape Town is in a water crisis, an incident of this nature is deeply irresponsible.

One male and three female students have been held as a result of this incident. It is alleged that the protest was about grievances regarding the working conditions of the catering staff in the Graça Machel kitchens.

The matter is being investigated and action will be taken by the university.

We remind students that the university has in place relevant channels and structures through which employee issues can be raised, discussed and resolved. Engagement between staff representatives and the UCT executive is ongoing and is not assisted by irresponsible actions by individuals who show no concern for the health and safety of fellow human beings.

While we acknowledge the right to protest, any protest that potentially endangers the lives of others can never be condoned.


Professor Loretta Feris
Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Transformation and Student Affairs

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