UCT Protests: Two Arrested Students Granted Bail

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Following the University of Cape Town’s announcement to not lift fee blocks, student protests have intensified on campus grounds, which then led to the arrests of two students on Friday.

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A heavy police presence was seen on UCT campus grounds last week to enforce the Western Cape High Court interdict granted to the university on 17 February 2023.

The interdict prohibited students from participating in or inciting others to participate in any unlawful conduct and/or unlawful protest action at the university's properties.

UCT Student' Representative Council (SRC) president Hlengiwe Dube, said the two students were wrongfully arrested and detained outside the UCT Kramer Law lecture rooms on Friday following clashes with police.

The two UCT students appeared at the Wynberg Magistrate's Court yesterday on charges of contravening a court order and public violence.

Both students were granted bail of R1 000 each. 

According to Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk, police was called onto the scene on Friday when protesting students started disrupting classes again and tried to enter lecture rooms, when they were stopped by police.

“Just after 11am, the protesting students started pelting police with metal drum lids, stones and other objects. Police took action to disperse the protesting students,” Van Wyk said.

Dube said there is a mediation process currently in place between university management and the SRC to address and reach a conclusion on the issue of the fee block policy.

We are just trying to constantly engage with management and the directive was given that a mediation process should take place today, so we hope that today it will be concluded.

Meanwhile, UCT management has maintained its position that it would not be scrapping its fee blocks, despite pleas from students and teaching staff.

The SRC highlighted that the decision would impact over 7000 students and called for it to be overturned.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said the case against the two UCT students was postponed until 21 April 2023 for further investigation.


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