Pretoria - Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) has officially suspended academic programmes and requested students at a number of its campuses to vacate the residences as of Sunday, following violent protests.
Students at Soshanguve north, Soshanguve south, Ga-Rankuwa, Mbombela and eMalahleni campuses were all notified on Friday evening to vacate the residences by noon on Sunday.
Some of the students at the Soshanguve south campuses loitered around the gate, surrounded by some of the burnt notices, uncertain of where to go.
TUT spokeswoman Willa de Ruyter said due to the escalating violence that took place at the affected campuses, a decision was taken to suspend activities until an agreement was reached with the Student Representative Council (SRC).
“Our first and foremost concern is the students as we are responsible for them while they are on our premises. So, in the interest of their safety and to avoid possible damage to property, we decided this was the best route,” she said.
“The vice-chancellor remains in communication with the SRC and we are awaiting their response to the proposal tabled to them by the university’s executive management last Wednesday.”
However, student Mxolisi Maisela said the university was being unreasonable as they had not harmed anyone or damaged property, so there was no need to kick them out.
“This time they were the ones who brought in bouncers to assault us without any provocation.
“If this is a TUT matter then let all campuses close including Pretoria campus,” he said.
Third-year local government student Thembinkosi Khosa, who sat with his bags at the university entrance, said he was still uncertain where to go as things stood.
“I’m from Nelspruit and have no relatives this side; my parents said it was up to me to decide what to do as I was the one here.
“I’ll try looking for a place to rent just outside the university, until they tell us what to do or when to return,” he said.
Khosa and other students said that although the SRC representatives had told them to refuse to move out of the residences they (the SRC) were nowhere to be found.
“They haven’t said anything to us except that we must stay, but they have moved out. We are not taking that chance either so we are trying to make a plan,” he said.
Student Muzi Gumede, from KwaZulu-Natal, said his parents could do nothing to assist him and as he knew no one in Tshwane he was certain he would be sleeping outside the university’s gates. “My parents said they would try to help me but I know they too are struggling so I guess I’ll stay out here,” said a gloomy Gumede.
De Ruyter said they were hoping for a response from the SRC soon.