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DASO claims police harassed and shot at protesting students at PE College

May 30, 2017
DASO claims police harassed and shot at protesting students at PE College

Students at the Port Elizabeth College were allegedly harassed and shot at on the institution’s premises by the SAPS after fires broke out at the institution, the Democratic Alliance Students Organisation (DASO) in the Eastern Cape claimed.

"The DA strongly condemns any form of violence and calls for stability at the Russell Road Campus. Students have a right to peacefully protest and express their grievances; such demonstrations should not be met with violence or intimidation," said Hlomela Bucwa MP - DASO Eastern Cape Constituency Leader.

She said that for the past four weeks, academic programming has been suspended due to students protesting over insufficient funding and failure by the institution, and NSFAS, to ensure that students receive their minimum allowances.

"At Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges, students receive the full allocation for their tuition and a portion of their allowances at a 70%:30% ratio, which is topped up later in the year. However, the Port Elizabeth College has since deviated from the proposed 2017 bursary guidelines and has instead opted to give students 25% of their allowances," Bucwa described.

"Upon my visit to the campus yesterday, it became evident that many of its students come from underprivileged backgrounds. These students are dependent on their NSFAS allowances for accommodation, food, transport, and textbooks.

"Thus, if students fail to receive the amount that they budgeted for, they will be unable to pay for their private accommodation, as the institution currently has insufficient residences to accommodate all of its students."

Bucwa further said that the institution has passed a resolution that students must have 80% attendance in order for them to write exams, regardless of the fact that most students do not have sufficient transport money due to their decreased NSFAS allowance.

"It cannot be that 22 years into our democracy young people still continue to struggle in their quest to acquire an education to improve their present circumstances," she said.

"The DA will continue to advocate for an increase in funding for institutions of higher learning and training, the improvement of the NSFAS system and the proper governance and administration in our TVET colleges."