THE payment of high accommodation fees at Maake Technical College in Tzaneen, Limpopo, has led to thousands of students boycotting lectures yesterday.

As early as 6am students blocked the gates to the campus and barricaded the road leading to the hostels.

Led by members of the students representative council, they danced and sang derogatory songs against college chief executive Martie Botha and called on her to leave the campus.

Stanley Letswalo, chairperson of the SRC, said they were concerned that students who stayed outside the campus paid R940 for accommodation, while lecturers who lived in the same buildings paid a paltry R150.

Letswalo said students had to share computers because management had failed to prioritise the purchasing of computers.

He said students had to buy textbooks and stationery, which disadvantaged those frompoorfamilies.

According to Letswalo very little or no water came out of taps in the hostels.

This situation put the lives of female students at risk since they had to travel long distances to the village to fetch water.

Letswalo said there was also no electricity in the hostels and the boilers machines did not work.

"Matters came to a head yesterday when management expelled 161 students," Letswalo said.

"This was after Botha had enrolled more students than the faculties can cope with."

He said according to policy the campus should have admitted 530 students to the faculties of civil and mechanical engineering, but instead enrolled 695.

"This led to lecture rooms being congested and some students being forced to use their thighs as desks and sitting on broken chairs during exams," he said.

"We will not back down on our demands for Botha and her lieutenants to leave the campus."

Letswalo said the students would continue with their protest until management addressed their concerns.

Last year the same campus was hit by student protests over the same issues for two weeks.

impopo department of educationspokespersonNdo Mangala said they were aware of the protest and were addressing the problems raised by the students.