Protests halt classes at nursing college

Students at Western Cape College of Nursing want running water, better security and longer library hours

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Photo of a door
A broken security door at the nursing college student residence in Athlone. Photo: Mary-Anne Gontsana

Students continued to protest outside the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) Western Cape College of Nursing in Athlone, on Monday. No classes took place.

The protests started last week, with students demanding running water in some residence blocks, more security and transport, as well as library assistants after hours.

On Monday, students sang and held placards in front of the college gates, blocking access. GroundUp saw students turn people away at the gate.

“There is a clinic behind the school, so the public walks through the college grounds as a shortcut to the clinic,” said a student. “It is not safe because anyone can enter. We have had a lot of break-ins in the residences.”

GroundUp was taken on a tour of a student residence. There were three magnetic lock security doors, including doors to the male and female bathrooms. None of them were working.

Students expected management to address them at 9am. They wanted feedback on a memorandum of demands they handed over last week.

By 10am there was still no sign of management. Four police vehicles were at the scene. By 1pm, students began to drift away.

CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley said that management from CPUT and the nursing college, including Prem Coopoo the dean of student affairs, have been meeting since last week with student leaders. The institution has resolved to resume its transport service between CPUT and the nursing college. It will also get more security guards and the library will be open later. The municipality has been notified about the water problems.

But the SRC members leading the protest denied having met Coopoo.

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TOPICS:  Tertiary Education

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