Students protest at gates of college

“We have not had lessons since 11 July” says student

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Photo of protesters
Students of EastCape Midlands TVET College found the gates to Thanduxolo campus locked on Monday. Photo: Thamsanqa Mbovane

Hundreds of students of Eastcape Midlands TVET College protested for five hours outside the Thanduxolo campus in KwaNobuhle township, Uitenhage, on Monday afternoon.

The students, some of whom came from Port Elizabeth by bus, said they arrived in the morning to find the college gates locked.

“We have not had lessons since 11 July … which is the beginning of this semester, ” said Zikhona Balintulo, a legal secretary studies student.

Protesting students blocked the road with stones and rubbish and burnt tyres on busy Bantom Street, a main route for taxis to Gunguluza areas 9, 10 and 11. They sang Thina silwela amalungelo ethu (We are fighting for our rights) and Siyaya noma besidubula (Even if they shoot us, we will go).

Zikhona Sanyaka, student secretary of Thanduxolo campus, said hundreds of students appear to be unregistered on the college’s system.

“Many of our students were blocked by the system … We then told the management to solve the problem by Monday [5 August ] … But when we arrived today, we were greeted by heavy security guard [presence].”

“The building is old with many broken windows. We don’t even have a hall at this school. Instead of 30 students a class, some of the classes have over 40 students,“ said Sanyaka.

When police arrived, police, students, private security guards, campus staff and management negotiated for over an hour. The students were then told to go home.

College spokesperson Kate Oladimeji said: “A special meeting has been scheduled for 6 August to come up with an amicable solution regarding the issue at hand. The meeting will be attended by campus management, SRC and some members of the College’s Executive Council (EXCO).”

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TOPICS:  Tertiary Education

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