11 October 2017

South Africa: Cape Peninsula University of Technology - Case Study of a Campus in Crisis

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

The government's report on funding for higher education has not been made public yet, but already tensions are brewing on university campuses once again. A particular pressure cooker has been the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, where violent protests have been occurring over the last few months. On Tuesday, the campus was shut down. What's happening at CPUT exhibits now familiar features of South Africa's student protests. By REBECCA DAVIS.

On Tuesday, the campus of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology was in a state of suspended animation. Academic activity had been cancelled for the day following violent protests on Monday, and private security was on hand to keep the public out.

A guard shrugged when asked when the university's Student Centre might reopen. "We're waiting for feedback," he said. On the glass doors of administrative buildings, various legal notices were affixed. One was an old interdict barring four protesters - Ayakha Magxothwa, Sivuyise Nolusu, Leo Mongale and Lukhanyo Vangqa - from entering the premises. The "CPUT 4", as they have become known, have attained martyr status in some quarters.

Piles of burnt rubble were strewn around the entrance to the campus Engineering faculty: a relic of the previous day's...

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