No end to FET strike

2016-01-25 10:30
Midlands College students burn tyres during a strike against the relocation of lectures last week. The SRC maintains there will be no lectures or registration until the college management is ready to talk.

Midlands College students burn tyres during a strike against the relocation of lectures last week. The SRC maintains there will be no lectures or registration until the college management is ready to talk. (Supplied)

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Pietermaritzburg - It has been over two weeks since the Umgungundlovu Further Education and Training College’s Midlands students embarked on a strike and there is still no consensus between management and student representive council.

The strike broke out after an abrupt decision taken by the college management to have some course lectures permanently moved to the Northdale campus.

The strike has hampered the registration progress at both locations.

Sandile Ntuli of the SRC said management had taken the decision without consulting the students, and no explanation was given for it.

Ntuli also denied the college’s assertion that a member of the SRC had attended a meeting where the matter was discussed. “When we approached the member, he was surprised, as all of us were. Students were only informed about the decision two weeks ago when they went to register,” he said.

“The problem we are having now is many of us are from disadvantaged backgrounds and can’t afford to board the taxi twice going to school and twice coming back.

“Clearly management never consulted us about this. We would have raised these concerns we are addressing now in the meeting [where the matter was discussed].”

Ntuli said the SRC was keen to meet with the college’s management to discuss the issue.

Electrical engineering student Siphesihle Ngubani said he was worried about the time being wasted while the protest continued.

“Classes were supposed to have started on Monday,” he said.

Outraged parent Devon White said she was disappointed by the decision taken to move students without consulting them. “Management never thought about the monetary impact that the extra kilometres would have on the students.”

Ntuli also alleged he was threatened by a man affiliated with the company contracted to provide security at the college.

He said the threat cames after he refused to remove a chain used to lock the main gate to the college premises.

“He accosted me while pushing me and told me I will die today,” he alleged.

Umgungundlovu south police spokesperson Mthokozisi Ngobese said a case of common assault was opened at Loop Street police station.

Repeated attempts over numerous days to reach college principal Ntombi Ntshangase failed.

• thabang.mathebula@witness.co.za

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