Food protests at FET college

2014-05-27 00:00

STUDENTS at the FET College in Plessislaer yesterday rioted, burning tyres filled with rubbish as they protested over food shortages and the quality of food they were being served.

The students blocked the main gate to the school with burning tyres preventing anyone from going in or out. No classes took place for the entire day.

A source who witnessed the protest but declined to be named for professional reasons told The Witness, “It was crazy to watch”.

He said the students had been protesting over food shortages at the campus, and that during the demonstration, some of the students looted the meat from one of the fridges at the college. The police were called in and the students also surrounded their vehicle. “The students were in charge, not the police.”

Deputy president of the Students’ Representative Council, Sandile Masondo, said there had been issues boiling up since February, and the students had finally had enough and took action that they hoped would get some response from management.

“The students have been complaining about the catering company for a while. The first issue related to the size of the portions that were being served. We engaged the company and the portions were increased.

“The second problem related to the issue that the food that was being served was sometimes off, and the students complained about it. Some of the students have allergies and so were reacting badly to the spices put on the food,” said Masondo.

He said another issue was the times the students ate; they eat only twice a day. “This is not the catering company’s problem, but the management’s.”

He said the students have breakfast of porridge or bread at 7 am and their second and last meal is served at 4 pm.

“On the weekend, they will eat at 7 am and at 4 pm and then have to wait for the following day to eat again. We are on financial aid, which means we come from poor families; the management knows this, yet they are doing nothing,” he said.

He said there were also issues relating to the registration and transport monies as some of the students had been left stranded because the college has not paid them transport money.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said the students destroyed bins and blocked the school gate. He said police were called to monitor the situation.

“No arrest was made and no injuries were reported”.

The Witness was unable to locate the management at the FET yesterday to get a comment from them.

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