News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Tuesday September 2nd 2014

CPUT students fight interdict preventing them from accessing university campus

CPUT students march to the High Court yesterday in opposition to the university’s application for an interdict preventing 16 students who took part in protests over registration fees in January, from entering university premises. Photo: Sandiso Phaliso/WCN

About 200 Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) students marched to the Western Cape High Court yesterday to oppose an interim interdict application launched by the university’s management late in January to bar 16 students from entering the university premises.

The university’s move meant that the 16 students would not be able to register at the university pending the court’s decision, despite yesterday being the last day for registration at the university.

The hearing of the case was postponed until today, although CPUT communications director Norman Jacobs said the University had “subsequently suspended the interdict and students were allowed access onto the university’s premises”.

“We agreed that we will suspend the interdict.  Nobody was barred.  We will be talking to student’s leaders discussing the matter,” said Jacobs.

According to Students Representative Council member Elvis Mahote, the university’s refusal to allow the 16 students to register was because the students opposed the registration fees set at R5 000 for students living in residence and R3 400 for oppidan students.

Mahote said the students engaged in protest action demanding that registration fees should be set at R3 400 and R2 400 respectively.

Three days after the January protest they were “surprised” to learn that some of the students had received SMSs notifying them they had been deregistered.

Regarding Jacobs’s statement that the interdict had been suspended, he said that had not been communicated to the effected students and it was not known whether their names had been re-instated on the university’s database.

South African Students Organisation (Saso) chairperson Lwandile Sociko said they had not been told about the university’s decision to suspend the interdict and they would continue attending court until the matter was finalised.

“We pose no threat to the University and all we ask is for the doors of learning to open.  We are not going to be left in the cold.  If we are threatened and intimidated we are able to form our own defense mechanisms,” announced Sociko, to a cheering and clapping crowd gathered on the stairs outside the High Court.

Responding to Jacob’s comments that the interdict was suspended late in January, Sociko said: “If he says the interdict was suspended, why did we have to go to court?  The official word will come from the court whether the interdict has been suspended or not.” – Sandiso Phaliso

Tags: Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Elvis Mahote, Lwandile Sociko, Norman Jacobs, South African Students Organisation

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