THE South African Students Congress (Sasco) at the University of Venda is embroiled in a legal wrangle with management over the suspension of its branch president.

The institution on Tuesday suspended Jimmy Machaka after a meeting by law students over the alleged poor standard of teaching by lecturers.

This was prompted by 120 law students failing the course modules.

Machaka said his suspension came as a surprise because management had initially indicated that he had vandalised the institution's property during student protests in April.

Machaka had denied vandalising the institution's property. He also said he attended the law students meeting in his capacity as student and not as Sasco president.

The meeting was set up to discuss students' dissatisfaction and the plight of the 120 students.

The final-year students had expressed concerns about being lectured by one person for their trial advocate and professional training modules.

Machaka said: "We were questioning the exam outcomes because it was not acceptable that 120 students failed two modules presented by one lecturer."

He said he believed there was something "wrong".

"While we were still discussing the matter I received a notice of suspension from management. I don't know if that was done to silence me."

The university was yesterday served with a letter from Sasco lawyers over the suspension.

Machaka said: "We were actually calling on the lecturer to explain how his course assessment was done because we thought there might have been something wrong."

Machaka said students were concerned that they had failed only his course and they had suggested a re-assessment.

The university yesterday said it would proceed with the charges. The institution's legal adviser, Nanga Lidovho, said Machaka was with unruly students who disrupted lessons by throwing stones at lecture halls in April.

Lidovho said: "Their (students) mission here is to learn and we were not happy with their actions, hence the decision.

"Charges are being formulated against Machaka and he will appear before a disciplinary committee soon."