Alex college students go on rampage

Protesters carry a robot on London Road in Alexandra yesterday after students went on a rampage.
Protesters carry a robot on London Road in Alexandra yesterday after students went on a rampage.
Image: THULANI MBELE

A protest at Central Johannesburg College Alexandra campus yesterday turned ugly when angry students went on a rampage, knocking down traffic lights, burning tyres and blockading roads.

The protest was sparked by grievances over the management of the college and delays in the payment of National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funds.

The students demanded that the executive management step down and that the library be opened with full resources and enough books.

Student Representative Council chairman Shadrack Khoza said students were frustrated after NSFAS funds were not paid in time for their accommodation and transport.

"The college uses a private accommodation and since the beginning of the year they have not received our payment for our rental ... however, they have been very patient with us as they have not chased us out," Khoza said.

Themba Msipha, a project manager at the college, along with Eugene Nkwashu,
acknowledged the students' demands.

"We assure you that they [demands] will be addressed with immediate effect. However, we do not condone
vandalism, intimidation and violence from students ... in as much as you have the right to peaceful protests we urge you to use maximum restraint as we engage with all parties involved to find a solution to the tabled problems," Msipha said.

Amogelang Manamela, an engineering student, said: I use the private accommodation next to the school and I am frustrated because I am on the firing line ... the landlords have started chasing us out."

Manamela said because of lack of resources in the library, he cannot even get support material to study.

"There are no workshops, as a result we cannot do our practicals [and] as N6 students we are forced to go and look for jobs after we graduate with inadequate practical learning."

Mpho Baloyi, a community activist in Alexandra, said they decided to support the students. "We have interest [in the protest] since this is the
only education and training
facility in our community, and we feel the need to protect it."

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