Hungry students thrown out of residences

By Drum Digital
31 August 2016

Students at The Central Johannesburg College, Crown Mines Campus have been protesting for two weeks because they have been denied food for over a month.

Students who live in residences at the Crown Mine campus of the Central Johannesburg College (CJC) are protesting because they haven’t received a decent meal since the start of the second term in July. The campus offers music and visual arts courses.

SRC member Yandisa Kobus says they were denied food during the public holiday on 16 June because they were told that students would not be at the student residences for the holidays.

“But they did not take into account the learners who remained behind and they lied to us because when students broke into the kitchen, they found enough meat, rice, fruit and vegetables for the weekend. They also kept telling us that students would not receive cheese but we found large blocks of it to feed everyone,” she says.

Following the public holiday the term came to an end, and learners returned to find that they had to reregister and apply for accommodation, despite having paid R7 000 at the beginning of the year to cover their full year of study.

Dazel Vokwana, a music student who lives on campus, says the situation is dire.

“I found a female student standing with her bags outside the gate as security had blocked all entrances. Students had to start hustling from their friends for alternative accommodation,” he says.

According to the students, they were stranded for three weeks and couldn’t access campus.

“We were hungry and destitute, when we were eventually allowed back in and it took another two weeks for us to get food,” he adds.

Kobus says they were allowed back on campus on the agreement that the school would no longer provide them with lunch and only breakfast and dinner.

“We had to hustle for food. Most of the places around here only sell kotas which are unhealthy to eat every day,” she says. “The food they do give us for dinner is bland, spinach with no meat and bread that has no spreads, just dry.”


A distressed source from inside the school told DRUM that teachers had to rally their own funds to buy bread for learners and management continues to turn a blind eye to the students’ concerns, despite several attempts to address the matter.

The school’s newly appointed principal Desmond April would not comment on the Crown Mines matter, but pointed out that there is adequate funding at the school as they receive support from the Department of Higher Education.

“All education institutions need more money but we didn’t increase our fees last year and we might not do it again this year,” he says.

However, students at CJC Crown Mines Campus say they were given a breakdown of how the college’s funds were allocated and told that the arts campus was running at a deficit. A source in the school’s management revealed that the arts programme is highly costly and the school is running at a financial loss.

Learners on campus have complained about having to use outdated software, having no internet connection and no mics, out of tune pianos for music students and an empty library.

Kobus says female learners face health risks as there was only one toilet available for over 20 female students, and four of them contracted infections.

Students say they feel abandoned by the school’s management and will continue their protest, sacrificing their studies until their voices are heard.

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