Mayhem at varsity over 'corruption'

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

Pandemonium broke out yesterday at the University of Venda in Limpopo when students demanded the immediate dismissal of two directors at the institution.

The unrest was sparked by allegations that two senior directors at the university had "stolen" money meant for poor students and given it to their student daughters.

Their daughters were reported not to have qualified for the bursaries.

Police shot five students with rubber bullets as they tried to disperse the unruly crowd. The five students were taken to Tshilidzini Hospital, where they were treated for minor injuries and released.

Nineteen students were also arrested for throwing stones at the police, but were later released on warning.

The students, under the auspices of the ANCYL, the Democratic Alliance Students Organisation, Azasco, and the Students Christian Organisation, plunged the university into turmoil when they disrupted lectures and embarked on their protest march.

The two directors at the centre of the unrest - director of communications, Rufus Kharidzha, and director of finance, Tendani Ramulongo - are accused of fraudulently channelling funds from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and grants from the Reserve Bank and Xstrata to their daughters.

Kharidzha and Ramulongo allegedly approved the funds for their daughters. One got R32932 and the other R37404.

The students were upset that the university management had done nothing about the alleged irregularities.

They gave the university only two hours to respond to their demand for the immediate suspension of the two directors and their daughters.

ANCYL organiser at the institution, Ndivhuwo Muthivhi, said the situation got out of hand when management failed to respond to their demand.

The students broke windows of the buildings near the main gate, dismantled the gate and stoned police vans.

The university's registrar, Khuliso Nemadzivhanani, said the university had appointed an independent auditing firm to investigate the allegations.