FET college closes as student protest turns violent in Plessislaer

2013-07-23 00:00

THE Plessislaer campus of the Umgungundlovu FET college was closed yesterday following a violent protest by students.

Tyres were burnt and rubbish spilled at the gate of the college as students demanded that they be enrolled for N4 (NatEd) courses.

They allegedly closed the main entrance to the campus at around 7 am yesterday, locking out lecturers and other students who were not aware of the protest.

Gazuzu Nduli, representative of the campus SA Students’ Congress branch, told The Witness that they were protesting because N4 students are not allowed to register.

“This is a new thing they are doing by not allowing the N4 students. They say they don’t have capacity and lately they told us that there are no funds for N4, which is surprising to us.

“We demand the implementation of our documents of grievances [that] we submitted to them since 2011,” said Nduli.

Police called to the campus when students blocked the entrance with rubbish bins, had to use rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the crowd.

College lecturer Zipho Ntombela advised students who were standing near the gate to rather go home.

He added that they do not know when the college will be operating again.

Acting principal Casper de Koker told The Witness that they were aware of the situation. “We cannot take more students, because we won’t receive additional funding by government. We cannot change the operational plans because of the students’ demands. These demands are unfair to the college.”

Student Representative Council secretary Gift Zungu said the meeting between them and the management today will decide their way forward.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan confirmed members of the Plessislaer crime prevention unit responded to a report of the protest at the FET Plessislaer campus.

“A group of approximately 700 students gathered inside the campus, blocked the gate and burnt garbage.”

She said it is alleged that the strikers locked the gate and prevented others from accessing the campus.

Police are monitoring the situation.

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