Ricochet News

King Sabata Dalindyebo students not going back to classes until demands met

By Yolanda Palezweni - Sep 4, 2017
King Sabata Dalindyebo students not going back to classes until demands met

Disgruntled students at the King Sabata Dalindyebo (KSD) TVET College in Mthatha on Monday vowed to shut down the campus and continue with their now week-long strike until all their demands are met by the college’s management.

The students are demanding among other things, that the college provides enough suitable classes and lecturers – since they have had no lecturers since beginning of the semester; and that the college makes a provision for proper facilities including toilets.

“There are not enough classes and the toilets are not suitable for human use; also the classes are not fit to be called ‘classrooms’ - when it's cold they are cold and when it's hot we are boiling to death and they are not sufficient as well students are overcrowded,” described Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania (PASMA) Political Commissar and Provincial Organiser in the Eastern Cape, Solomzi Zulu Sompeta.

He added that bursary beneficiaries, who had paid a registration fee at the beginning of the academic year, must also be refunded.

“We agreed that all, who were made to pay a registration fee during their first, must be refunded because they are bursary holders. But, management is saying the students will receive their registration fee refunds when they complete their diplomas, which is what made students very angry and they ended up breaking windows at the reception building,” he explained.

Sompeta said that the college has been operating without a Student Representative Council (SRC) since January, adding that they have written to both campus and institutional management, but their pleas have been ignored.

According to him, meetings with the college’s Student Affairs department have been unfruitful as the Student Affairs Manager could not endorse an Interim SRC that was elected.

“On Monday last week, the Student Affairs Manager was nowhere to be found so that we can give feedback to the students, so students boycotted classes.

“On Tuesday, when Student Affairs Manager arrived with the Campus Manager, students were on a go slow - we had the meeting outside the campus premises. What made us angry was the arrogance shown by the Manger telling us he will not write to the college’s Principal to endorse our interim SRC – we want him to commit to endorsing the SRC in writing because he has been lying to us saying that the interim SRC was endorsed by word of mouth,” Sompeta described.

He said the impasse over the SRC started when students found that the ballot papers at the SRC elections did not have all candidates for all the SRC portfolios, so they decided that the SRC elected remains an interim body until they could get a way forward from the Student Affairs office. It is this interim body that has not been endorsed by the college.

Sompeta also accused the college’s management of reporting lies to the media with the intention of tarnishing their protest while trying to divide the students.

He also claimed that protesting students have also been receiving threats from the community to call off the protest and go back to classes.

“I received a call from a member of the Zimbane Village leadership telling me that they want us as students to leave their village. He said that villagers are planning to chase us away or kill us because we have vandalised their school during our protest,” said Sompeta.

He added said that the protesters are unmoved by the threats.

“Until management implements our demands, we are not going back to classes even if it means staying away the whole year,” said Sompeta.