THE situation at the Capricorn FET campus in Seshego outside Polokwane turned violent when police shot protesting students with rubber bullets.

The police, who were a called in by management, accused the students of destroying campus property.

But, management failed to show any property damaged by the students. The only notable thing damaged was the registration plate of one of the cars belonging to the department of education. It was apparently damaged when students ran for cover from police.

FET management yesterday issued a circular instructing students who were not eligible to write supplementary examinations to vacate the campus. It said protesting students would either disturb or disrupt the examinations, scheduled to begin today.

The circular reads: "All students are instructed to vacate the campus.

"Only students eligible to write the supplementary examinations will be permitted on campus. You should be out of campus in 20 minutes' time. Those who are eligible to write will have to prove their eligibility before they can be allowed back on campus."

The police fired rubber bullets in the direction of the students "in an effort to manage the situation" but no one was injured.

At least 12 students, among them two females, were arrested by the police. Those arrested - whose ages range between 18 and 24 - will be charged with public violence, according to Seshego police spokesperson Inspector Mothemane Malefo. He said they would appear in court soon.

The strike by the students started last Friday when they demanded "better treatment by management".

They boycotted classes by sitting outside lecture halls.

At the centre of the protest are allegations that students at the college have not been issued with certificates or diplomas since 2007.

They only received statements. The institution's management claimed that the problem was with the Department of Education.

Campus manager Moses Letsoalo said yesterday that the students had been disruptive, that is why they had summoned the police.

"But the problem of the non-release of certificates is not our competence and the problem is not peculiar to our campus," Letsoalo said.