The world-famous University of Cape Town (UCT) has been forced to shut down with immediate effect on Monday, September 19, “in anticipation of protest action” by thousands of rioting blacks, a statement from the college has announced.
The decision follows a series of riots late last week when disciplinary tribunals were started against “students” arrested for assault, intimidation, arson, and vandalism during “student” protests earlier this year.
The rioting blacks blocked access roads to the university, and stormed classes where lessons were taking place, disrupting transport services and forcing the handful of white students to flee for their lives.
Lectures were temporarily suspended last Friday, and the new announcement is open-ended, in that it is not known for how long the total suspension of all academic activities will last.
According to the official statement from UCT, after “consulting with a number of different stakeholders, the University of Cape Town executive has made the difficult decision to suspend classes, lectures and tests on Monday, 19 September. UCT Libraries, including the 24/7 study area, will also be closed.”
“The university remains open, however, and all staff are requested to come to work. The security situation will be assessed throughout the course of the day and if it changes, you will be advised. If staff experience disruption or intimidation, they are requested to please engage with their line manager.”
Updates on UCT’s Twitter channel revealed that all the entrances to the university had been blocked off by the blacks, and that all the university shuttle buses had been suspended, in addition to all classes, lectures, and tests.
Interviewed on South African radio, vice chancellor Max Price said the decision had been made after class invasions last week following protests against the ongoing disciplinary tribunals, and that the problem was going to escalate with an upcoming announcement about tuition fees.
The UCT closure comes after major disruptions at the neighboring Stellenbosch University last week, when rioting blacks occupied the university library in protest against a tuition fee increase.
According to the Business Day newspaper, last week the rioting blacks blocked access to a road at the University of Cape Town’s (UCT’s) lower campus‚ forcing the university to divert its bus service.
“UCT confirms that protesters have blocked access to Baxter Road‚ lower campus‚ where Jammie Shuttles normally stop. Jammies are being diverted away from this road and will instead stop on Main Road at the corners of Chapel and Woolsack roads‚” the university said.
Protests also caused the Jammie bus service to be diverted on Thursday morning near Tugwell and Leo Marquard Halls on its lower campus. The Tugwell service had been suspended until further notice‚ the university said. “Tugwell Jammie is diverted from Tugwell to two stops on Main Road at the corners of Chapel and Woolsack roads.”
UCT said in a statement last week that the protesters included “university workers and students‚ and students from other universities.”
The protest was “said to be related to a student disciplinary tribunal hearing cases against students accused of criminal acts, including assault‚ intimidation‚ arson, and vandalism during the protests earlier this year.”
Earlier in the year‚ two black “students” were expelled after a plea-bargaining process in which they admitted guilt. They are appealing the sanction and so the final outcome has not yet been determined.
The university also has an interdict in place against three students‚ granted by a judge on the grounds that this was necessary to protect the campus community and property. This is subject to an appeal to be heard in the Supreme Court of Appeal.