Petrol bomb at exams

2018-07-26 17:59
Police inspect the exam hall at Northdale TVET campus after it was petrol bombed on Wednesday.

Police inspect the exam hall at Northdale TVET campus after it was petrol bombed on Wednesday. (Ian Carbutt)

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Disgruntled uMgungundlovu TVET College students at the Northdale Campus threw a petrol bomb into a hall during an exam on Wednesday morning.

A student, who asked not to be named, said the incident happened around 11 am on Wednesday.

He said no one was injured and the petrol bomb was removed before causing any damage so the students were able to continue with their exam.

“The students on this campus are divided into two groups; trimester students and annual students. The students who threw the petrol bomb ... are the annual students who are fed up with the college managment and the [National Students] Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) not paying out their bursaries,” said the student.

Several students, who are on NSFAS, were left stranded since Saturday after they were evicted from their residences in the area because they have not been paying rent.

“On Saturday our landlords evicted us because most of us haven’t been able to pay rent since January,” said a student who asked not to be named.

They said they have nowhere to go.

“We took our belongings and went to campus. For the past few days we have been sleeping on the corridors because all the classes are locked [at night]. We have nowhere else to go and most of us have stopped attending classes because of this,” she said.

A source told The Witness that the annual students were disrupting the trimester students, who are busy writing their exams, because they claim that they do not assist with protest action, but reap the benefits at the end.

“Earlier this week pepper-spray was sprayed during another exam. Students will continue with such disruptions until these issues are addressed,” said a student.

Student Representative Council (SRC) president at Northdale campus Moeketsi Mahasela said the council is against Wednesday’s petrol bomb incident.

“We are not sure what led to this incident, we will have to wait and hear from police and the campus management.”

Mahasela said the SRC has requested a meeting with the management of the college today to address the issues of funding and evicted students.

“We have been engaging with the management of the college, students and the landlords but the minute we think there is progress things change and we are left confused as to what is happening.

“We are hopeful that our meeting with the management tomorrow [Wednesday] will help us all find a solution and classes will be able to commence as there haven’t been classes since July 16,” said Mahasela.

Ntombi Ntshangase, principal of uMgungundlovu­ TVET College, said she was aware of Wednesday’s petrol bombing incident but had not received a full report and therefore could not comment on the matter.

She said according to her knowledge all the classes at the TVET college are continuing as normal.

On the matter of the evicted students, Ntshangase said the college does not have any agreements with the landlords.

She said the college’s process of paying funds to bursary beneficiaries is ongoing.

“Unfortunately we cannot give a date as to when all the funds would be paid ... So far 60% of the funds have been paid and we are in the process of paying out the remaining 40%.

‘It must also be noted that NSFAS funds are not paid to us all in one go so we cannot also distribute the funds at once,” she said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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