South Africa: UCT Students Start Occupation to Protest Financial Exclusion

UCT students marched to the Kramer Law building to protest against financial exclusion.

The action follows protests by students in Johannesburg this week over the same issue.

UCT says there are over 1,600 students with debt at the institution, which amounts to R88 million.

The university says it is waiting for NSFAS to approve funding for this year, but added that it offers free registration for all students.

Students from the University of Cape Town (UCT) began gathering to protest against “financial exclusion” from about 6am on Friday. By 10am, the group marched to the Kramer Law building on Middle Campus where the crowd grew to over 150 people.

Addressing the protesters over a loudhailer, Students Representative Council (SRC) President Declan Dyer said, “This is now the student centre. We will occupy Kramer”. He said they chose the Kramer building because it was also the headquarters of UCT’s financial aid and student housing offices.

This follows protests by students of Wits University in Johannesburg this week.

Dyer said they were protesting in solidarity with the “2,500 students who are being financially excluded” from UCT. Dyer said they will call the vice-chancellor and management to address them.

Mila Zibi, of the residence council, warned that the group would remain in the building until management met them to “give us a way forward”.