Chaos erupts over disputed elections

CHAOS erupted at Mangosuthu University of Technology yesterday as disgruntled ANC-aligned students movement Sasco tried to storm the administration block.

This happened after irate students complained about contradicting communiqués from dean of students Thami Mchunu. Initially he said Sasco had won but subsequently said the results were not final.

The situation has been tense at the university since the Student Representative Council elections took place at the weekend.

And yesterday was no different.

The situation was so tense that police had to be called to maintain order.

Apparently, during a scuffle with security guards, Sasco candidate Mondli Peters was injured after he was allegedly shot at with rubber bullets.

ANC heavyweights, including chairperson of the safety and security portfolio committee Bheki Ntuli, arrived at the institution.

Sasco branch chairperson Nhlakanipho Sibisi said the students were dissatisfied with the manner in which Mchunu had handled the elections.

"He has failed us. On Monday, he issued a communiqué saying that we have won, but today (yesterday) he issued another one, contradicting himself and saying the results were not final," Sibisi said.

He said it was clear that Mchunu was bowing down to the pressure from IFP-aligned South African Democratic Students Movement (Sadesmo).

Sadesmo had threatened to take legal action, after staging a walkout during a counting process on Sunday, alleging irregularities and vote rigging.

Attempts to get a comment from management were unsuccessful because they were in a meeting.

Police spokesperson Superintendent Buhle Ngidi confirmed the incident.

"I can confirm that a student was shot by a member of a security company during a chaotic situation at the institution," he said.

Ngidi said that when they arrived at the university, the situation was tense.

"Enraged students were trying to force their way into the administration block and we had to use shields to disperse them," he said.

The SRC at the university is currently dominated by Sadesmo.

ANC Youth League president Julius Malema visited the institution before the elections and urged students to vote for progressive leadership.

But, the succession battle within the IFP has also been partly blamed for the poor showing of their dominance.

Students are believed to be divided over who should replace party president Mangosuthu Buthelezi between national chairperson Zanele Magwaza-Msibi and secretary-general Musa Zondi.