To: University of Cape Town
We wholeheartedly denounce increased security presence on our campus as a solution to our impasse; this would effectively create a climate of fear rather than one learning.
We call for UCT to roll back the escalation of the private security presence.
We call for the continuation of earnest, transparent negotiation between management and student protesters, and a tangible sign of commitment through commencing the #ShackvilleTRC process.
We refuse to be used as an excuse to use violence. We are not safe when we think our problems are resolved through force.
Why is this important?
UCT management has made it clear that they plan to resume full university functions on Monday 3rd October through the use of extensive private security.
Heavy private security has been deployed at other South African universities with serious implications for the safety of students and staff alike. The state’s recent zero tolerance directive to the police force with regard to student protesters shows an increased willingness to use violence to resolve disputes. However there is no strong evidence that increased security will protect students or prevent the destruction of property. In fact experiences over the last year and on other campuses have shown increased security presence escalates tensions and is more likely to lead to violence than to mitigate it.
Despite management’s multiple communiques regarding engagements with different stakeholders, a transparent negotiation process between management and protesting students only began in earnest as of this Friday, 30th September. Without a genuine commitment to engaging with tangible outcomes, there is substantial basis to concerns that the opening of campus on Monday 3rd October will dissolve the urgency to deal with issues of fees, interdicts and institutional culture.
Ways to show support:
We ask that people sign and share the petition in support.
For tutor groups, teaching or lab assistants and other students or staff involved in the running of the university, you could send emails to your students and faculties (to denounce use of private security, declare a stay-away or discontinuation of work until these issues are addressed, and pressure your faculty bodies to take a stance on this matter)
For different interest groups at UCT, whether student societies or faculty bodies or other, public statements denouncing private security and calling for engagement.