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CPUT nursing students say residences are not secure

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Athlone campus SRC deny college management met with them

Photo of four students at a desk
Western Cape College of Nursing SRC members: Bubele Vumindaba, Thabiso Tshefu, Asanda Dibela and Siphesihle Mnyamana address the media regarding the recent protests at the college. Photo: Mary-Anne Gontsana
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Western Cape College of Nursing students and SRC members have dismissed claims by the management of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) that their concerns about safety in their residences have been resolved.

In a media briefing by the SRC on Friday morning, Athlone campus chairperson Thobile Tshefu said they have had no meetings with management since they started protesting last Friday, and none with the Dean of Students Prem Coopoo.

Tshefu said the only communication he’d had with the dean was via WhatsApp on Wednesday morning about vehicles being set alight.

On Wednesday, CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansely told GroundUp, that on Monday evening Coopoo, representatives from the Western Cape Health Department, management of the Western Cape College of Nursing, and student leaders, had a seven-hour meeting “reaching a number of positive outcomes”.

Kansley said most of the issues raised by students had been resolved. These included: four full-time security guards to address security concerns; the commissioning of a borehole to solve water and sanitation problems; extended library hours; and the reinstatement of an inter-campus shuttle. A monthly feedback session was also agreed to.

This came after protests at the Athlone and the Bellville campuses, which saw cars set alight and 21 students arrested.

When GroundUp asked Tshefu to confirm the meeting Kansley referred to, a roar of laughter came from the students who were in the briefing, with some saying, “The management lied to you”.

At the time of publication CPUT management had not yet responded to GroundUp’s queries.

The nursing students say they fear for their lives because anyone could walk in and out of the residence. The security doors are still not working. On Wednesday, a student photographed a man jumping over the fence at the back of the college, right behind the residence.

The press briefing was also attended by Noora Salaam, the first lecturer to rally behind the students. She urged the students not to get involved in any violence while they were fighting for their rights.

“I have sent an email to management about these issue and unfortunately there has been no response. All we are asking for is that the safety of the students be guarded and that the charges against the students that were arrested during protests on Tuesday be dropped. We are currently drawing up a petition that we will have ready by Monday,” Salaam told GroundUp.

Her email to management also mentions a decomposed body of a student found in a room in November 2018.

“These are urgent matters, which do not warrant for procrastination. Students are now terrified to stay at the residence for fear of safety but also arrest by police. They are also afraid to stand up for their rights. (I am also not in favour of violent protesting, but many students had adhered to passive resistance with their picketing. Others, have merely been bystanders),” she wrote.

Comment will be added when CPUT management responds.

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