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CPUT allows former student leader to attend graduation after initially barring him

Cape Town – The Cape Peninsula University of Technology has backtracked in its move to prevent a former student leader from attending his sister’s graduation ceremony on Tuesday.

Ayakha Magxothwa, a former student leader and 2016/2017 Central SRC president, who graduated from the institution last year claimed that the Vice Chancellor of CPUT Dr Chris Nhlapo had barred him from attending his sister’s graduation event set for Tuesday afternoon.

Magxothwa produced a letter from the VC’s office that prevents him from attending the event for security reasons. In his letter to Magxothwa Dr. Nhlapo said that the university had the right to reserve access to the institution to ensure the “well-being of its students and staff members.”

“As a result of the damages that CPUT has suffered in the past, albeit financial, emotional, reputational or psychological, the institution resolved to prevent any potential harm to the institution at all cost,” wrote Nhlapo.

“Having regard to all the relevant factors. I am unable to accede to your request and permission for you to attend the graduation ceremony on 12 December 2018 is therefore denied,” added Nhlapo.

Magxothwa explained to Vernac News that the reason he sought permission to attend graduation from the VC is that when he attended the Annual General Meeting of the institution’s Convocation earlier this year, he had sought permission from the institution’s legal department because he had graduated before completing his disciplinary hearing processes related to the #FeesMustFall protests. Magxothwa claimed that the Legal Department gave him the go ahead to attend the AGM as he had graduated from the institution. Magxothwa alleges that the VC then attempted to have him removed from the institution despite the fact that he was cleared to attend by the Legal Services department but he was saved when one of the security services personnel liaised with the Legal Services department to confirm the clearance. It is against this background that Magxothwa then wrote to the same VC this week to seek permission to attend his sister’s graduation.

“I think by denying me the right to attend my sister’s graduation exposes this as a clear personal attack by Dr. Nhlapo and CPUT against me,” said Magxothwa

“There were many people who protested during #FeesMustFall and some who might have been responsible for damage to property, why am I being singled out?”, lamented the former student leader.

CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansely denied that the institution had barred Magxothwa from attending the graduation ceremony, but she could not respond to our response when we produced a copy of the letter the Vice Chancellor has sent to the former student leader.

Magxothwa then confirmed to us a few hours later that the correspondence with the institution that he had been called by CPUT and asked to attend his sister’s graduation ceremony.

CPUT will cap thousands of graduates this week at the Bellville Campus.


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