STUDENTS at Tshwane University of Technology protest at the main campus in Pretoria West. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA)
STUDENTS at Tshwane University of Technology protest at the main campus in Pretoria West. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA)

Classes cancelled at Tshwane's TUT colleges as protests spread

By GOITSEMANG TLHABYE Time of article published Feb 12, 2019

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Pretoria - The protest action that led to the closure of Tshwane University of Technology's Mbombela campus last Thursday spilled over in Pretoria on Monday.

Academic activities were cancelled at a number of campuses - including Ga-Rankuwa, Arcadia and the main campus in Pretoria West - due to protests by student representatives.

By noon, however, activities at Arcadia, Ga-Rankuwa and even the Arcadia campuses seemed to be getting back on track. However, at the Soshanguve campus, proceedings resumed under the watch of security personnel.

Students at the main campus could be seen catching public transport while others were seen to be milling about after their classes had been suspended.

The chairperson of the EFF Student Command, Kingsley Baloyi, said the students were protesting as they were fed up with being undermined by the university’s management, who refused to take their demands seriously.

He said students were missing classes while waiting in queues to sort out issues such as being blocked by the university.

He added that another issue they were unhappy with was student allowance allocation.

First-year students were being given a R5 000 book allowance, while senior students were struggling to make do with their R2500 allowance.

Baloyi said senior students felt that this was unfair and created unnecessary animosity between student groups.

“We want equality, as these people are dividing students because of this. Even though the R5000 is not enough, at least give everyone the same amount.”

Baloyi said the students would not stop until those who had been financially excluded were also absorbed and allowances of R5000 had been paid to all.

Baloyi also said young female students who had to find accommodation off campus were often attacked while making their way to lectures and back.

University spokesperson Willa de Ruyter said the eMalahleni campus remained closed as a result of disruptions experienced on Monday.

She said the Mbombela campus would also remain closed until further notice following last week’s protest action.

“Disruptions at the Pretoria campus are being monitored. Staff and students at the affected campuses will be advised immediately when normal university activities are set to resume.

“Although the Ga-Rankuwa campus experienced disruptions this morning, students have decided to call off the protest action and the campus is accessible.”

De Ruyter confirmed that sporadic disruptions had been experienced at the Arcadia and Arts campuses.

However, she said, activities at these campuses had resumed and staff and students could access them.

No incidents were reported at the Soshanguve or Polokwane campuses.

“The university apologises for the inconvenience these disruptions cause, and will continue to issue updates with regards to the situation as new information is verified,” De Ruyter said.

Pretoria News

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