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Sat May 28 06:03:21 SAST 2016

UCT students shack on varsity steps - put sign saying 'beware of monkeys' on it

Jenni Evans | 15 February, 2016 13:39
File photo of the University of Cape Town.
Image by: ESA ALEXANDER

About 30 students erected a corrugated iron shack, complete with portaloo, at the University of Cape Town on Monday in protest over student accommodation shortages.

They brought paint tins and beer crates to sit on and a braai to cook their food at in the makeshift yard at the bottom of the Jamieson steps. 

The area was cordoned off with red and white danger tape, with handmade signs warning: "Beware of monkeys" and "This is the state of the nation".

The students sang and thumped on the shack to draw attention to their protest.

At the top of the steps, quiet marketing campaigns by a gym, a bank and other companies were being held for students flocking past for the new academic year. 

Zola Shokane, of the Rhodes Must Fall movement, said they were outraged that, not only was there not enough accommodation at the university, but that this seemed to be affecting black students only. 

She said the university had supplied "transit" accommodation, and put them on to waiting lists for the university residences.

But they could not understand why only white people on the waiting list were placed in permanent accommodation and the black students were still waiting. The students also had to stay four to six in a room at the transit accommodation which was against university policy that only two may share a room.

"They have no privacy," she said. 

She said some students found they had been blocked from registering because they still owed money. This was surprising because they believed that government resolutions after last year's #feesmustfall protest had resolved this.

According to Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, old National Student Financial aid Scheme debt would be covered by an emergency injection of over R2bn. 

Shokane said she was unable to register to take first-year Gender Studies again after not writing her exams because of the protests which led to a fee freeze, and this year she was ill during the rewrite period.  

She claimed UCT'S policy on arrears was different to other universities.

Last year, students tried to storm the National Assembly during the Budget speech, and protests across the country led President Jacob Zuma to announce the fee free.

On Monday morning, police could not be seen at the protest, but some campus guards were watching.

Source: News24

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