Student boycott enters sixth week at King Hintsa
Allegations spread via WhatsApp prolong boycott
Students at the Teko and Cetane campuses of Hintsa Technical and Vocational Education and Training College (TVET) in Centane continued their boycott of classes for the sixth week.
Students returned to campus on Monday after they were evicted on 9 September following protests over registration fees. But on Tuesday morning, a WhatsApp message written in Xhosa started circulating on college. It raised a number of issues, but the burning issue was a surprising allegation that college management had stolen funds to buy private land for themselves.
The message also said that lecturers were now supporting the student protests and that the SRC had been given a court order not to hold any meeting on college premises.
The message ended with: ‘Let us not stop fighting; the road to success is not always straight forward.’
It is unclear who wrote the message or whether there was any basis to the land allegations, but students refused to return to classes.
A student leader, who asked not to be named, said, “As we speak, our lecturers are behind us, supporting our protest, and we will continue even if it means that this year we are not going to study. We demand details about this new campus and where the money is coming from.”
Student Representative Council President Silungile Beza said he is aware of the message sent to students and does not know who sent it. He also said he could not comment on the land allegations. His major demand of the college is to allow students to register for free if they do no have the funds to pay their fees upfront.
“We had several meetings with management but they refused to let students register for free. We planned to address students but it is not easy since some of the students leaders were given an order not to address students inside college premises,” said Beza.
College Principal Noluthando Balfour, denied all allegations of misusing funds for land. “I would love to get information about those plots, their location and amounts involved. Maybe there is someone who bought on my behalf,” said Balfour.
Students GroundUp spoke to were adamant that they will not go back to classes until Balfour addresses them about the allegations.
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