Sekhukhune TVET: month long shutdown continues

SYM (square)by John Leshilo

The CS Barlow and Apel campuses of Sekhukhune TVET college have been on a shut down for the past four weeks.

Students are protesting a range of issues. These include financial exclusions. Bursaries are too small to provide students with financial assistance to cover accommodation costs. Hostel fees have increased 50% at one campus. This forces students to find private accommodation where standards vary widely. This is unfairly leading to students dropping-out

But foremost amongst the issues that have fuelled student protests is the continuing exclusion of student representation from the college council and other structures. The SRC has continued to be suppressed by management since the ANC-linked SASCO lost the support of many students to the independent Sekhukhune Express (see previous report).

Students are demanding the removal of campus manager JR Maphela. Students claim that since her appointment in 2013, the SRC has not been formed in two of the four years possible. But moreover, in the run up to the SRC elections this year, Maphela reportedly attended a SASCO event and told them she wants them to win the election. If true, she is clearly not neutral and likely using her management position to protect SASCO.

Provincial and national government continue to refuse to intervene. Students want to return to their studies, but at a democratic institution, not the current dictatorship.