More chaos at city FET

2013-08-01 00:00

THE uMgungundlovu FET College’s Msunduzi campus was closed yesterday after students broke windows during protests, forcing management to seek an interdict against the Student Representative Council and SA Students’ Congress (Sasco).

The students have accused management of racial discrimination. “Whenever there are challenges facing those campuses dominated by African students, the Midlands campus, which has mostly white students, is never affected,” said a student, who declined to be named.

The uMgungundlovu FET College has six campuses: Msunduzi, Northdale, Edendale, Mawele, Plessislaer and Midlands.

Sasco deputy chairperson Mlungisi Ngema said the students had three grievances: victimisation of council members by management; students unable to register because of outstanding first-semester results; and the withholding of results because of unpaid fees.

The money for the fees would have come from the National Students Financial Aid Scheme, but was not received, apparently because of incomplete documentation, for which the students hold management responsible.

Ngema also questioned why the Midlands campus was the only one unaffected.

He said the students called on Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande to intervene. “We want the college to be placed under administration until they appoint a permanent person as rector because all these acting appointments have not yielded any positive results for students,” he said.

Several attempts to get hold of acting rector Casper de Koker were unsuccessful.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan said officers were investigating a case of malicious damage to property after three windows at the Msunduzi FET campus were damaged.

Jeevan said management alleged that about 20 students had protested outside the college, demanding enrolment. “The students then allegedly stoned the building, damaging three windows, and they thereafter fled.”

No injuries were reported and there were no arrests.

The college then turned to the court, seeking an order to prevent Sasco members from threatening, harassing, intimidating and disrupting educational activities.

In papers filed in the high court, De Koker said he was appointed the acting principal on June 3 following the resignations of his predecessors, who were “effectively driven away by the rebel students”.

He said that shortly after his appointment, he refused students permission to use a college bus to go to a function. He said he was then threatened with death by a Sasco member.

De Koker said the “prime movers” of the students claim to be Sasco members.

“Whenever there has been something that the prime movers do not approve of, they whip up emotional support from others and disrupt the ordinary educational activities, often causing damage.”

He said that on July 17, students had threatened to harm Msunduzi campus manager C.H. Singh when she refused to register certain students.

And on July 22, the Plessislaer campus was closed after campus manager R. Surfilall-Roy was threatened and intimidated for not enrolling students for a particular course.

De Koker wanted an order interdicting and restraining students named in his affidavit from entering the college premises.

The students have until August 13 to respond.

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