Lectures suspended indefinitely after yet another blaze at TVET College

2016-03-16 10:31
The police and fire department are investigating the cause of Monday’s and yesterday’s fires that have led to the indefinite suspension of lectures at Msunduzi TVET College.

The police and fire department are investigating the cause of Monday’s and yesterday’s fires that have led to the indefinite suspension of lectures at Msunduzi TVET College. (Supplied)

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Pietermaritzburg - After a second mysterious fire broke out at one of Msunduzi TVET College’s buildings on Tuesday, lectures were suspended indefinitely.

It appears the fire started on the stair-way going up to the classrooms at the campus.

Students were evacuated from the college and assembled at the campus’s main entrance under the watchful eye of police.

SRC members met with the college management to discuss a way forward and the management suspended all college activities until further notice pending an investigation into the two fires there on two consecutive days.

Some students fear the suspension of lectures will hamper their exam preparations, with time already wasted during previous strikes.

On Monday, fire fighters were called in to the college to extinguish a fire that had engulfed the computer lab there, while four students including the SRC president were rescued from the building and received medical attention in hospital.

The disruptions come after students protested on Friday backing four suspended lecturers. The students said that suspending lectures was not a solution to the poor management at the college. They are calling for the campus manager to step down or be transferred elsewhere.

Members of the SRC said they were afraid to comment because of threats they would be suspended if they did so.

A source, who did not want to be named for fear to having to face a disciplinary hearing from the college management, said the reason students were pushing for the dismissal of the campus manager was because she does not have the interests of students at heart.

He said the students’ NSFAS papers had not yet been submitted and were still at the campus. “They should have been submitted a long time ago. Students are worried they will only get their money late in the year. Some of the students rely on this money to pay for their accommodation and transport. We are in the third month of the year and she does not show any concern about it,” the source said.

When asked about the fires, the source was adamant that students were not linked to either incident.

“We will wait for the outcome of the investigation to see what has caused the fires. The lectures were back to normal and students were looking forward to going to write their exams,” said the source.

Fire prevention officer Richards Dlamini, who was at the scene yesterday, said the cause of the fire remains unknown, “but it was not accidental”.

He said the investigation is still continuing.

Umgungundlovu South police spokesperson Mthokosezi Ngobese said the police are also investigating the cause of the fire.

• thabang.mathebula@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  college  |  strike

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