26 students held after PMB protest

Published Apr 25, 2013


Durban - Violent student protests, including the disruption of lectures, led to the evacuation of the premises and the arrests of 26 students at FET campuses in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday.

The students were arrested after ignoring instructions to disperse.

Students trashed campuses, burnt tyres at entrances, threw stones and overturned garbage bins.

Police spokeswoman Lieutenant Joey Jeevan said that at the Northdale campus, about 500 students burnt tyres and prevented the free flow of traffic.

At the Msunduzi campus in the CBD, about 150 unruly students broke windows and doors of classrooms and libraries, and also set alight an FET vehicle parked on the premises.

“Police monitoring the campuses warned the strikers to stop their illegal activity and disperse. However, they continued. Officers were then forced to arrest 26 students,” Jeevan said.

They face charges of public violence, malicious damage to property and obstruction of traffic. They were due to appear in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

A member of FET management said a meeting was scheduled to take place between the student representative council, FET management and representatives from the Department of Higher Education and Training to try to resolve the students’ grievances.

FET student council secretary-general Philani Nduli accused the college management of not taking students’ grievances seriously.

These include concerns about deplorable living conditions and insufficient safety measures on campus.

Issues regarding students’ bursaries not covering their transport costs have also been raised, while students are unhappy with their quality of learning, claiming that many of their lecturers are unqualified.

Similar violent protests by students at FET colleges in Pietermaritzburg hit the headlines last year, and students said yesterday they would continue to protest.

Daily News

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