Cape Town – CPUT students have built shacks on campus in protest against lack of spaces in student residences.
The students at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology erected a shack called at the Bellville campus in the early hours of Tuesday but it was quickly demolished by the campus security.
The students were not deterred as they rebuilt another shack just around lunchtime. This time they called it ‘Hillbrow’ in reference to the Johannesburg suburb notorious for all sorts of social ills.
A similar protest was organized by Rhodes Must Fall at UCT in 2016 and it was called Shackville.
Inside the CPUT shack were books and blankets and a washing line had been setup outside.
A student activist who did not reveal his identity said that students were protesting against lack of accommodation as some students have had to sleep in chairs for the past four weeks.
“This is a movement of students, there is no political organization that is leading it. For a period of four weeks students have had to sleep on chairs and some in toilets. So we have found ourselves in this space and when we ask for accommodation from the university they cannot help us,” said the activist.
“The lack of accommodation for students is an expression of the general displacement of black people in this country and this shack answers that very land question,” continued the activist.
Police were later called and with the assistance of the campus security demolished the structure.
CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley said that the university has been tirelessly meeting with student leaders to resolve the accommodation crisis but stressed that they can only assist those who are eligible, applied on time and are genuinely in need. To this effect, said Kansley, Vice-Chancellor Dr Chris Nhlapo has also announced the establishment of a task team to look specifically at student housing and has visited some residences last week.
Kansley blamed late applicants for wanting to jump the queue in housing allocations saying that this affects those who had applied on time.
“Roughly 33% of our student body is accommodated in residences and this far exceeds the national average.”