NEWS

Tensions Carry On Simmering At University Of Cape Town After Shutdown Called Off

Management obtained an interdict.

07/09/2017 13:12 SAST | Updated 07/09/2017 13:13 SAST
Mike Hutchings / Reuters
University of Cape Town (UCT) students march to the university's administration block during protests demanding free tertiary education October 5, 2016.

It is still unclear whether University of Cape Town student leaders will succeed in their planned shutdown this week. The Student Representative Council (SRC) said they would be bringing the university to a total standstill on Thursday, however this was called off after the university obtained an interdict from the Labour Court in Cape Town, according to TimesLive.

Salipswu representative Abrahams Agulhus told TimesLive the union has now withdrawn the strike notice in order to prepare a new one.

The students and workers are protesting against the alleged mistreatment of insourced workers affiliated with South African Liberated Public Sector Workers' Union. The university was granted the interdict on the basis that the notice to have mass action did not specify a time and place when the protests would happen.

One thousand workers at the institution were insourced last year after a series of protests in 2015 when students demanded free tertiary education and for workers at the university be insourced.

The National Education Health and Allied Workers (Nehawu) and university management came to an agreement in 2015 to insource cleaning, catering, gardening and campus protection services.

This has been dubbed season three of student protests falling under the #FeesMustFall banner. In 2015, students from around the country resorted to protest action after the Department of Higher Education announced an 8 percent fee increment at universities. This led to final exams having to be pushed back at most universities including Wits, University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Pretoria, Nelson Mandela University and Rhodes University because of intense protest action.

The protest spilled over to 2016 when students held up final examinations yet again. This time there was a lot of violence and several key figures in the movement were arrested. Durban University of Technology student leader Bonginkosi Khanyile spent close to six months behind bars and even had to write his final exams in jail. Former Wits SRC president Mcebo Dlamini was also arrested and has an ongoing court case against him.

#FeesMustFall activist Mcebo Dlamini is expected back in the Johannesburg magistrates court on Thursday morning. He faces charges of theft, assault, public violence and malicious damage to property for his involvement in the protests which led to exams being pushed back at the university.