Msunduzi TVET shut down after march

2017-03-23 14:32
Msunduzi TVET College SRC president Ningi Luthuli describing the aftermath of the march that left several students injured after the police used rubber bullets to disperse them.

Msunduzi TVET College SRC president Ningi Luthuli describing the aftermath of the march that left several students injured after the police used rubber bullets to disperse them. (Ian Carbutt)

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Several Msunduzi TVET students allegedly sustained rubber bullet injuries when the police fired at them while they picketed outside the college’s central offices on Wednesday.

The students embarked on a go-slow and marched to the central office to hand over a memorandum of grievances over unpaid allowances owed to them since last year.

According to the newly elected Msunduzi TVET campus SRC president Ningi Luthuli, as a result of Wednesday’s events, the college has been shut down until further notice.

Luthuli said they could not quantify the number of students who were injured as they scattered after they were chased by police.

Earlier this year, the SA Further Education and Training Student Association declared a nation-wide shutdown of TVET colleges over unresolved crises faced by students in the country.

Among the issues raised was the payment of student allowances owed to them from last year.

The association also cited leadership problems, corruption, unqualified lecturers and the lack of certification as some of the factors that had led to the total dysfunction of the sector.

Outraged students said other TVET students under Umgungundlovu have received the outstanding balance of the money owed to them, but they have been left out.

They alleged that the school management has deliberately withheld the payout.

According to students, while they were picketing outside the college’s central office the police approached them with the order to disperse as the protest was not legal.

“We told them that we were here to hand over the memorandum and that we would leave the premises peacefully. We were not violent and disruptive as we were escorted by traffic officers from the Msunduzi campus [in Pietermaritz Street] to the central office [at 44 Burger Street]. The police refused to listen to us and only gave us five minutes to leave,” said Luthuli.

“[In just] two minutes, they just started shooting randomly at us and arrested some students.

“Some [students] were released on a warning and one was detained. What surprised me is they [police] collected the [rubber bullet] cartridges on the road,” she said.

Luthuli said the college management had ignored their grievances since last year.

One of the injured students, 21-year-old Thembeka Sokhela, who was shot in the head, managed to find her way to Central Clinic in the CBD, but due to her injuries was transferred to Northdale Hospital.

She was bleeding from the head and appeared to be weak as her mother, Hlengiwe, drove her to hospital.

A furious Hlengiwe said she was considering opening a case against the police. She said she was disappointed by the conduct of the police and how they handled the situation.

Although students maintain that one of them was arrested on Wednesday, police spokesperson Mthoko Ngobese said no arrest were made.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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