Today's Big Stories

UCT suspends classes, holds off on police backup

Classes at the University of Cape Town (UCT) have been suspended for the rest of today and Wednesday.

Protesting UCT students marched through the university and gathered on Upper Campus where they disrupted classes, forcing other students to leave various lecture venues.

Several roads leading to the main campus have since been reopened to traffic after a group of protesters had barricaded the entrance ways.

UCT's Deputy Director for Communications Kylie Hatton says police presence will only be brought onto campus if the situation escalates.

With the experiences that we've had with protests, we have a protocol for bringing Saps onto our campus... It's something we would do with tremendous reluctance as a campus.

Kylie Hatton, Deputy Director for Communication and Marketing Dept at UCT

According to Hatton, university management will only pursue police reinforcement once all other interventions have been explored.

She explains that the repercussions of calling law enforcement onto campus are tremendous.

The university executive plans to find away to ensure that students voluntarily cease with the protest action, she says.

The protest action follows after Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande announced universities must decide their own fee increases for 2017, placing an 8% increase cap.

Students have now dispersed and gone into private talks where protest leaders say they intend to plot the way forward.

At the same time, UCT management and students are set to meet this evening, claims Hatton.

Listen to the full conversation from The John Maytham Show:

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