10 October 2017

South Africa: 'Disruptive' CPUT Four Get Suspended Expulsion

Photo: William Yoder /GroundUp
Cape Peninsula University of Technology protesters at Cape Town Station (file photo).

The four Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) students accused of disrupting a council meeting in August were expelled by the institution on Tuesday morning.

In a statement, CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley said the expulsion was suspended for 12 months.

The disciplinary process was completed by an external chairperson, Kansley said.

"This means that if the students are found guilty of any disruptions for 12 months from this date, the university will have grounds to pursue another disciplinary hearing and, if found guilty again, they can be expelled."

This means Ayakha Magxothwa' Sivuyise Nolusu' Neo Mongale and Lukhanyo Vangqa will be able to complete their studies, pending any further disciplinary action.

According to a Western Cape High Court application in the matter between CPUT and Magxothwa, Nolusu, Mongale and Vangqa and others, including the minister of police, vice chancellor Nkongwane Stoffel Nhlapo said on Thursday, August 21, there were disruptions at CPUT's Cape Town campus.

"I am advised that a violent protest took place and that shots were fired. Staff were forced to hide under their desks and were completely traumatised by the incident," said Nhlapo in the court papers.

He said security had to be beefed up as students, who covered their faces with stockings, surrounded the entrances and threw stones while protesting.

Nhlapo said he was advised that the protests were related to a number of issues including the removal of private security guards on campus and the insourcing of workers.

Campuses closed

"Furthermore I am advised that much of the tension on campus was as a result of the suspension of the first four respondents, which suspension took effect late on Wednesday, 30 August."

Included in the court papers, dated September 1, are letters of suspension addressed to the four students.

The suspension letters state that the four disrupted a meeting of the executive council (exco) held on August 18 at the council chambers.

The students "interrupted the effective rendering of decision-making activities of the exco council, threatening to burn the buildings and holding the members of the entire meeting hostage, and refusing that they may leave the venue and premises of CPUT".

Their suspended expulsions follow months of unrest at the university's campuses, with students voicing concerns over the university's National Student Financial Aid Scheme office, the scheme's food vouchers, student accommodation and outsourcing, which the university agreed to phase out.

On Tuesday all CPUT campuses were closed following security concerns. On Monday Nhlapo posted a message on the institution's Facebook page informing students that the academic programme had been suspended for Tuesday.

"The decision has been taken to safeguard staff and students across all campuses. Part-time classes at the Cape Town and Bellville campuses are also postponed until further notice."

Nhlapo said the university would communicate more information once it had assessed the ongoing security situation at all its campuses.

Source: News24

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