Student protests over accommodation turned ugly yesterday when a car ploughed into group of demonstrators at Buffalo City College’s John Knox Bokwe campus.
Four of the injured students were taken to Cecilia Makiwane Hospital where they were treated and discharged.
The angry students overturned the car with their bare hands causing substantial damage.
Police were called to quell the tensions.
Students at the Mdantsane-based college were demanding that college management provide them with accommodation.
Police spokesman Lieutenant Nkosikho Mzuku said they were called and “on our arrival we managed to control the situation. We were told that there were students that were hit by a car driven by a former student. We then advised those who were the victims of the incident to go to the police station to open a case so that we can start with the investigation”, he said.
Student leaders Siyakudumisa Ndubaza said: “We demand that management provides students with accommodation and transport. There are other operational issues.”
He said the previous SRC had been in talks with the management, “but nothing came out of that”.
The academic programme ground to a halt at two Walter Sisulu University campuses.
By the time of going to print, students at the Buffalo City campus were demonstrating around Southernwood, while at the Mthatha campus students were still holding a mass meeting to decide on a way forward.
At both campuses (WSU) students were demanding that the university provide them with accommodation.
Students at the university’s Mthatha campus have been boycotting classes since the beginning of last week, according to SRC president Mxolisi Zoko.
No lectures took place on the Buffalo City campus yesterday after students agreed at mass meeting they held on Monday to come out on protest.
Deputy SRC president Lonwabo Sikode said their attempts to get the attention of the management on the issue were unsuccessful.
University spokeswoman Yonela Tukwayo said they were aware of the grievances by students from the Mthatha campus, but the issues students at Buffalo City campus were raising had not come to their attention..
“At the Mthatha campus we are aware of their grievances. Students are not happy with the system we use to allocate them to residences. They say it is unfair,” she said.
Tukwayo said they had to introduce the system after reports of corruption were brought to their attention regarding those doing allocations.
Regarding the Buffalo City campus disruption, Tukwayo said they were only aware of the disruptions of lectures.
“The management met with the SRC, but they are denying that there was any decision to go on protest during their mass meeting on Monday,” she said.
Sikode said their issues related to accommodation.
“We have residences that do meet the standards set by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) , in particular residences at the Potsdam site.
“The university accredited residences that do not meet basic specifications that are outlined by DHET like having refrigerators, microwaves. In particular the issue of (not having) Wifi,” he said.
Sikode also said there were instances where students were not able to proceed to higher levels because there was no space for them.
“Every student who passed a level advancing to the next level is qualifying to do so and they must be granted an opportunity to do so. It cannot be a fault of a continuing student that the university does not have enough resources.
“We view this as sabotage because we end up having a situation where students stay in the system more than they should and in the same breath we have a policy that students can only be in the system for a certain period of time,” he said.
Sikode said they would not return to classes until their demands were met. — firstname.lastname@example.org