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Tue May 24 13:55:16 SAST 2016

#RhodesMustFall protests hampering student res placements: UCT

TMG Digital | 15 February, 2016 15:56

Image by: #AllOppressionsFall @IAmAFallist via Twitter

The University of Cape Town on Monday lashed out at the Rhodes Must Fall (RMF) movement for ongoing disruptive activity on campus‚ after a shack was erected on Residence Road and rubbish bins were set alight.

“It is necessary‚ as part of the project to disrupt the architectural tone of the university. #Shackville‚” the Rhodes Must Fall movement said on Twitter.

“This is the new res #Shackville for Black students who are #HomelessAtUCT‚” said #AllOppressionsFall @IAmAFallist‚ sharing photos of the green shack with its own portable toilet.

UCT acknowledged a shortage of accommodation but accused the RMF activists of compounding the problem.

“It is the very action of RMF in interfering with staff and operations at UCT that compounded the accommodation issue as various offices that were meant to deal with the accommodation issues had to be closed due to RMF interference‚” spokesman Elijah Moholola said in a statement.

“RMF claims that UCT spends R2 million a month on private security that they say could have been spent on accommodation. What RMF is not saying is that it is their very actions (occupation‚ intimidation‚ interfering with staff‚ interfering with operations) that forces UCT to have private security on campus in the first place. They create that cost for UCT.

“Again this morning there were some members of RMF who persist with unacceptable behaviour. This includes the burning of rubbish bins which presented a safety hazard and the traffic access to upper campus was interrupted.

“We call on the protesters to cease those activities that are outside the boundaries of acceptable protest action and to respect the rights of other students and colleagues at UCT.”

Moholola said the current student accommodation problem was primarily because some 700 beds normally released in early January in any given year could not be released due to deferred exams‚ and outstanding financial aid decisions based on increased National Student Financial Aid Scheme funding made available from government.

This was in addition to “a dramatic increased call from students for assistance with accommodation”.

The university has only 6‚680 beds for a total of 27‚000 students‚ meaning some 75% of students live outside of the residence system.

Moholola said UCT was making progress in finding accommodation for hundreds of students and had also provided students who needed it with temporary accommodation‚ food and transport.

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