College: Staff member 'hit me'

2009-03-26 00:00

Students at the Pietermaritzburg branch of the Intuition College boycotted classes yesterday after a senior staff member allegedly slapped a student while he was making a complaint.

Siya Manana, who is registered for the travel and tourism course, said a senior staff member, whose name is known to The Witness, stomped on his foot and slapped him after he demanded a refund of his fees. Manana told the staff member he was dissatisfied with the quality of the education he has been receiving.

"I paid R3 050 so far," he said. "I want it back. I went to the staff member in the morning and told him I do not want to study at Intuition College any more. He hit me in front of all the other students and parents there."

Human resources student Wonder Makhaye said he saw the staff member and student arguing before the alleged asault. The staff member "told him to just shut up, then he stamped on his foot and smacked him", Makhaye said.

The staff member denies the allegation. He said he told students wanting to leave the college to bring in their parents or guardians to withdraw their registration.

"The mother of this student that I strongly spoke to came in [on Tuesday] and I gave her a tour and she said it's fine," he said. "This student came to me É and said, 'I am no longer a student of this college' and I said it's fine, and he left. I never slapped anyone."

The principal of the Durban branch of the college, Vusumusi Ndlovu, said he was present during the confrontation. When the student approached the staff member, he said, he brought "a thug" with him.

The staff member "never touched the student. He pushed the thug and told him to go away," said Ndlovu. The thug "could not identify himself and his relation to the student", he added.

For the past week, students on various courses have approached management about their dissatisfaction about the quality of the education they are receiving.

When The Witness arrived at the college yesterday, students stood outside the premises and refused to attend classes. "We do want to study here," said travel and tourism student Slindile Dube. "We want our money back, so we can study elsewhere."

Ndlovu alleged there is a campaign to tarnish the name of the college and that students are being irrational. "They say that our staff are unqualified. They say there are no computers. But how can they prove this?" he said. "They need to verify facts."

Although the students spoken to said they all went with Manana to the Loop Street police station to lay a charge of assault, police spokeswoman Inspector Joey Jeevan said a case had not been opened there or at any other p;olice station.

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