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Monday, December 6, 2021

This is why CPUT students are protesting

Bonile Khanyi

Protesters at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) are calling on the university’s management to lift the suspension of four students.

On Monday, a group of students embarked on a protest demanding that CPUT reinstate students who were suspended in August for allegedly disrupting a council meeting and threatening to burn down buildings at the institution.

Speaking to Inside Education the Chairperson of the EFF student command at CPUT, Songeze Phahlindlela, said the university needs to lift the suspension of four students and allow them to continue with their studies.

“We want the university’s management to lift the suspension of these students because it has been over a month since they’ve been suspended. They can’t submit their assignments or attend classes,” said Phahlindlela.

A student reporter who spoke to Inside Education said the protesters are also demanding that there be no financial exclusion for 2018.

This comes after some students claimed they’ve been getting notifications from the university, saying that they can’t come back next year if they don’t pay this year’s remaining fees.

The university has been dealing with protests for months, after some students embarked on a protest over accommodation, with some students saying that they won’t stop their demonstrations until CPUT management meets them and acknowledges their demands.

Phahlindlela said that they’ve been calling on the university’s Vice Chancellor (VC) to meet with students and listen to their grievances.

“We have been calling on the VC to listen to us, and he’s been refusing to meet us, saying that he’s busy and that he’s got work to do,” said Phahlindlela.

CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley has refuted these claims saying the university has attended countless engagements with student leaders.

“We have been engaging with the student leadership since 2015 when we appointed the Rapid Response Team to help us deal with student’s grievances and we continue to engage with students to find a resolution to the issues they’ve raised,” Kansley said. 

Meanwhile, some students say that they would like to return to class after all academic programmes were suspended on Monday until further notice. Some exams have been disrupted. 

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Kansley said: “after careful consideration of the current situation, management has made a decision to suspend all university activities across all campuses until further notice.”

“This will allow us to continue the consultation process with various stakeholders. The return to work and classes will be communicated to you in due course.”

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