The University of Cape Town's Student Representative Council has slammed what it calls an unhealthy and abnormal environment, as the institution beefs up its security ahead of its year-end exams, which commence on Wednesday.
UCT has converted its rugby fields into exam venues, with access being controlled by campus security, private security and police.
The institution confirmed, in a campus announcement, that access to the venues and the surrounds was now strictly controlled, with the roads closed to all vehicles until November 30, when exams would be concluded.
Continued protests and an increase in "unlawful incidents" made securing multiple venues "extremely complicated".
"Due to the ongoing risk of disruptions, an alternative plan is being executed to ensure the successful delivery of the exams. The plan is designed to ensure exams are concluded in a safe, quiet and calm atmosphere," the communique reads.
The SRC hoped to set up a meeting with university management by Monday evening to discuss the heightened security presence, chairperson Karabo Khakhau said.
The SRC had met and discussed a blanket option for deferring exams, as students "can't be forced to write under these conditions," she said.
Khakau said the heavy security would add to the anxiety students experienced before writing their exams, while others were under additional stress as the issue of financial exclusion had not yet been resolved.
According to the university communique, the executive had previously expressed regret that security "must be deployed to such an extent on campus to secure the exam venue".
"Staff and students should expect increased visibility of security measures around the exam venue. In the prevailing context, there is, unfortunately, no alternative."