University Of Cape Town Suspends Shuttle Services Following Students Protests

The University of Cape Town (UCT) has announced the temporary suspension of shuttle services citing the inaccessibility of some roads on campus following protests over fee blocks and access to student housing.

In a statement seen by Pindula News, the academic institution said it will continue to engage stakeholders on the matter. Reads the statement:

NOTICE: Please note that due to disruptions on upper and lower campuses on Tuesday, 14 February 2023, UCT Shuttle services have been temporarily suspended as some roads on campus are inaccessible. 

UCT urges students and staff to make alternative transport arrangements to access campus. The university will provide further updates in due course. The UCT executive will continue engaging with the SRC to resolve the issues. 

Day one of the new academic year at UCT kicked off with an SRC announcement that it would be shutting down all campus activities in protest against fee blocks and access to student housing.

On Monday, the EFF-led student representative council (SRC) announced a campus shutdown and suspension of academic activity, citing UCT’s housing crisis and the financial exclusion of students with fee blocks.

Entrances to UCT’s campuses were blocked as people tried to get in, with students standing at the entrances and instructing cars to turn away from the university in protest. Many cars were parked on the sides of roads, or on lawns close to the university since they were barred from driving inside.  The university also announced the following measures:

1). The UCT Council approved the amended fee debt threshold from R1 000 to R10 000, enabling more students to register in 2023 despite their outstanding debt.

2). The university set aside budget, within the current financial constraints, to assist students in good academic standing who meet the criteria for financial aid through the debt appeals process. For 2022, data shows that at least R1.9 billion (unaudited) was spent in providing financial aid support to UCT students. This amount is an increase of R100 million compared to 2021. The support provided to students has increased in recent years and close to 50% of undergraduate and 30% of postgraduate students receive funding support.

3). The university’s grace period enables students with outstanding debt to access the academic project while working on settling the debt. In 2023, UCT had 251 students whose applications for a grace period was successful, and 30 with pending outcomes.

4). The Department of Finance secured additional sources of funding through two corporates entities. We appreciate this partnership.

5). Students who were in vacation accommodation were allowed to remain in residences while they were engaging with the Department of Finance on reducing their fee debt, or with their relevant faculty regarding readmission appeals on academic grounds.

6). The university is currently providing emergency accommodation to a number of students who are yet to reduce their debt.

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