Fees protest ripples reach beyond varsities

27 September 2016 - 19:58 By Deneesha Pillay


Student protests have seen classes suspended at various universities across South Africa. But the effects are now being felt beyond the confinements of the campuses and has negatively impacted the arts‚ sporting events as well as blood donation. Protest action at the University of Cape Town (UCT) led to the forced postponement of the opening of The Magic Flute‚ hosted by the Cape Town Opera (CTO)‚ which was scheduled to open on Tuesday evening. According to a statement released by the CTO‚ managing director Michael Williams said the postponement was "an unprecedented situation for CTO which‚ in 17 years of staging operas locally and internationally‚ has never had to postpone a production". "Cape Town Opera offers sincere apologies to patrons who were looking forward to attending Matthew Wild's magical new production of the work‚" Williams added. Speaking to TMG Digital on Tuesday‚ CTO's Dawn Kennedy confirmed that postponement comes as result of UCT students not being able to rehearse for the performance. The show's director‚ Matthew Wild said his team were "very disappointed that we are unable to share our work with audiences next week". "My creative team has been crafting the production for over a year‚ and the students have been doing beautiful work in rehearsals. "Our focus now is on securing dates to premiere the production in the first half of 2017‚ and I hope patrons will find that it was worth the long wait‚" Wild said. Wits Theatre and the Wits School of Arts' Division of Music confirmed to TMG Digital that The Andre Petersen Quartet which was meant to perform at the Wits Great Hall on Tuesday evening had been cancelled‚ also due to protest action on the campus.In addition‚ the Premier Soccer League (PSL) was forced to cancel the scheduled game between Bidvest Wits and Orlando Pirates on Saturday after threats erupted that Wits University students were planning to disrupt the match. Times Live reported that the PSL decided to abandon the game due to security concerns. "An SMS was sent to the Bidvest Wits CEO [Jose Ferreira]‚ and that was passed onto the PSL. We deliberated with the PSL and it was decided in the interests of security surrounding the match that it should be abandoned."We did not know – 50 people with placards might have arrived‚ or it might have been 200. And our security would have had to deal with that‚ and the possibility they might try to enter the stadium‚" Bidvest Wits' general manager George Mogotsi said according to the report.This while the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) says it's running low‚ mainly because students are not donating. Enca (https://www.enca.com/) reported that SANBS said that protest action had disrupted several blood drives. "The blood bank is running on less than three days' worth of supplies. Officials say 3000 units are needed‚ simply to keep levels above that mark. "Nearly 40% of stocks are collected from schools and universities each year‚" the report read.- TMG Digital

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