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College shame as facilities fall apart

A workshop that students are supposed to use for their practicals has been turned into a storeroom, male and female students share the same toilets and most classrooms do not have electricity.

These are the shocking conditions at the Tshwane North Technical, Vocational Education and Training College, Soshanguve North campus in Pretoria.

The situation is so dire at the college that the student representative council (SRC) is planning to take the fight to the South African Human Rights Commission.

Early this month the SRC wrote to the campus management asking for an urgent intervention into the dilapidated state of the campus.

A Sowetan investigation at the campus found that there was no electricity in most lecture rooms and that about 600 male and female students have to share two blocks of toilets.

There is no toilet paper and sanitary bins in the toilets, whose seats are broken and taps have long stopped working.

"There is no privacy here. You can be using the urinal and a female student just passes by while you are urinating.

"Sometimes female students have to wait for us to finish urinating before they can come inside and use the toilet," said a male student.

SRC chairperson Qaqamba Bontshi said the council raised the issue of poor sanitation at the college from the beginning of the year and that nothing had been done.

The campus also does not have a library and students sit under trees during lunch to study.

Deputy chairman of the SRC Sidima Mazana cited the lack of security.

"Just last month 15 computers and safety boots that were supposed to be given to students were stolen because there is no security here. In fact, people don't steal here, they take," he said.

The woodwork workshop has been turned into a storeroom and students cannot use it for practical work. Added Mzana: "This is a skills campus and students are supposed to do 50% theory and 50% practicals but where are they supposed to do their practicals in this dump site? The machines are also gathering dust instead of being put into good use."

The plumbing workshop has also been turned into a multi-purpose hall and is not used for its intended function.

Principal Sello Sethusha said the college had a comprehensive maintenance plan to fix all structural problems at its six campuses.

He said refurbishing the Soshanguve campus would not be done in "one year" as there were not enough funds.

Sethusha said he knew about students sharing toilets via a letter from the SRC, and instructed the campus manager to deal with the matter.

macupeb@sowetan. co.za