Students: ‘We’ve had enough’

2013-04-26 00:00

“WE burned the car yesterday; next it will be one of them … they have ignored our plight long enough and now we want them out.”

Students of Msunduzi FET college yesterday expressed their anger outside the court where 26 of their fellows appeared to face accusations of incitement and public violence following protests on two campuses on Wednesday.

The protesters are demanding that the college management be replaced. Their main complaint is overcrowding in residences.

They went on the rampage on Wednesday, starting a fire in a library and burning a car.

Classes on several Pietermaritzburg campuses were cancelled.

Students thronged the pavement opposite the court yesterday, singing protest songs and dancing for hours while they waited to hear the fate of their fellow students. Others packed the court.

A court orderly threatened the students with arrest when they blocked an entrance.

“We are tired of this treatment,” said student Nduduzo Madiba. “The police beat up our students. They arrested our students while we were fighting for our democratic rights. They didn’t even warn us …

“We sat down and had meetings at the colleges, and found that all the students were angry. Enough is enough. Before this was just a humble request, now it is a demand. We are the vanguard of the poor working class …” he continued.

The students cited lack of accommodation, lack of funding for students and lack of equipment as concerns.

“There is only space for 400 students and they are admitting close to 7 000 students. These students have nowhere to sleep,” said another student. He compared the beds they were allocated to “braai stands”.

Former student leader Gazuzu Nduli said there were issues with financial aid meant to be paid to the students.

“There is no money to pay for food or for transport; some students have had to drop out because of this.”

Said protester Lungisani Ngubo: “When we wanted to have a meeting with management to discuss our problems, they sent us from place to place. It disorientates us.

“They must go, we need better administration.

“They treat the students like pigs. If they are going to treat us like pigs we are going to act like pigs.”

Attempts to get comment from the college were unsuccessful yesterday.

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