Durban - Police are investigating a case of malicious damage to property after a fire in the staffroom of Umlazi’s V-section further education and training (FET) college yesterday caused damage estimated at thousands of rands.
It was one of three FET college campuses where protesting students disrupted lectures this week.
Students blockaded the main entrances of Umlazi’s V-section and BB-section, as well as the Umbumbulu campuses, with burning tyres.
They were demanding transport and accommodation allowances, which they claim were promised to them two months ago by institution officials.
Acting V-section campus manager T Masinga confirmed students had set alight the staffroom, causing damage estimated at more that R60 000, when they burnt furniture, student files, windows and ceilings.
The protests began earlier this week ahead of the start of trial exams on Monday.
Students were on campus yesterday, but lectures were not taking place.
College student representative council president, Mfundo Mokoena, said they backed the students’ demands for their allowances, but distanced themselves from the vandalism that had taken place on the campuses.
“As the [council], we are not responsible for the damage, but we will help the police find the culprits. We dissociate ourselves from any act of vandalism of any state property,” he said.
Three months ago, the college’s academic and support staff, as well as students, wrote a letter of grievance to Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande.
The letter addressed numerous issues affecting students and staff.
“On the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, students had not been told if they had received 2011 bursaries... This year, students were still asked to apply again, but they had not received transport and accommodation allowances to those without residences,” the letter said.
Safety was another student grievance. - Daily News