The University of Cape Town (UCT) Student Representative Council (SRC) has warned students not to return to classes on Monday after the university council resolved that lectures should resume amid protests against looming tuition fee hikes.
The SRC said in a statement on Sunday it did not support the council’s decision to reopen the institution.
“We do not support nor encourage the return of students to class tomorrow [Monday], with the presence of private security and without proper engagement between all stakeholders involved with a clear resolution,” the SRC statement said.
The safety and security of students and staff would be at risk as it remained unclear whether university management had made any headway regarding the protesters and the “interdict and tribunal processes”.
“It would be disingenuous on our part if we were were to encourage students to return to resume classes knowing tensions between stakeholders remained, which proves to not be a condusive environment to students to continue with their studies properly,” the SRC said.
The university also “lacked commitment to support calls for free higher education and urging government to make a clear commitment”, it said.
Students and academic staff held a silent protest at the steps leading to the university’s Jameson Hall on Friday, holding up placards calling for the resumption of academic activities.
University campuses have been rocked by protests since last year as students demand free higher education. An announcement by Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande that fee increases for 2017 would be capped at eight percent brought another wave of protests as students demanded no fee increases until government implemented free higher education. Lectures have been suspended at most universities as the unrest continues.
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