Protesting CPUT students say “the gloves are off after the courts failed” them.
Dozens of students went to the Western Cape High Court yesterday to take out an urgent interdict against police, who they claim have been sexually harassing female students.
They wanted the court to bar cops from entering their campuses, and to prevent the varsity from suspending protesting students.
However, the group was told they needed a lawyer to represent them.
Speaking on the steps of the court, Lukhanyo Vangqa, spokesperson for the Cape Peninsula University of Technology #FeesMustFall movement, said they will now step up their protest as they demand no fee increases for 2017.
Classes at all CPUT campuses were suspended for a second day following Monday’s disruptions to lectures.
Protesters again disrupted classes, forcing students out of lecture halls.
Hundreds of students from the Bellville and Mowbray campuses arrived in Cape Town by train to protest at the city campus, with about 30 students heading to court.
Vangqa says they approached the high court because they needed protection.
“We have learnt from last year’s mistakes and wanted to beat the university by getting an interdict first,” he explained.
“We want to interdict management from suspending us or closing residences as a way of getting rid of us, as well as have police off of our campus and restricted from using excessive force.
“The reason we have asked the management to remove SAPS is because of the sexual harassment our female students endure.”
“They get catcalled and whistled at by these very police who are supposed to protect them.”
Lukhanyo says their failure to get an interdict means students must now “fight fire with fire”.
“The judge refused to listen to us because we did not have fancy lawyers, the law has failed us and we will now go back to students and tell them to use any means to protect themselves.
“Now we will go into phase three, we will not only shut down campuses but the towns each campus is at.”
Police spokesman Captain FC Van Wyk says no reports of sexual harassment have been received.
— Bertram malgas (@malgasie) October 4, 2016
CPUT’s spokesperson Lauren Kansley confirmed classes will remain suspended today.
At the University of the Western Cape, students blocked entrances to the institution in the morning to prevent anyone from coming into the campus.
Dustbins and litter were scattered along the road leading into the campus and hundreds of students marched up and down, mobilising others to join them and not attend classes until their demands were met.
UWC’s spokesperson, Luthando Tylibongo, says while there were disruptions, students were generally peaceful, and classes carried on.
University of Cape Town remained open, with lectures continuing despite numerous disruptions by about 200 protesters.
Meanwhile, the six UCT students who were arrested for intimidation on Monday have been released without being charged due to lack of evidence.