STUDENTS at Capricorn TVET College in Polokwane are gearing up for yet another strike over a range of demands that included the failure to issue certificates for courses completed since 2012.
The college was amongst the several other same institutions across the country that embarked on strike last week. The students submitted a memorandum of demands to Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande.
The students protested against weak leadership at the institution, unqualified lecturers, mismanagement of NSFAS and the late payment of allowances for accommodation and transport.
South African Student Congress (SASCO) deputy president in Polokwane, Joel Mamabolo, said higher education authorities have failed to hold the management at the college accountable.
But Nzimande has since indicated that there has been progress on several matters at TVET colleges in the past two years.
“We are determined not to let this situation go on for longer than is absolutely necessary, and we are working with the college authorities and other relevant. We call on the student’s representative bodies at the TVET Colleges to engage with us and their administrations as we together ensure continuing improvement,” Nzimande said.
However, Mamabolo this week insisted that the strike will be resumed if the demands were not addressed satisfactorily. The students are due to meet with higher education authorities for talks.
“We have no choice but to protest as it is the only way that the department will take us seriously because our plea to the department have fallen on deaf ears,” said Mamabolo.
He expressed disappointment that numerous meetings last year with higher education authorities only produced empty promises.
“Nzimande has responded to the memorandum requesting a dialogue with all SRC leadership, which is not what we demanded. We don’t mind the dialogue, but all students should have received their certificates and their results by now,” said Mamabolo.
“The NSFAS fund is paid to the college’s account, but students do not receive it to pay for transport and accommodation which is questionable,” he said.
He warned that without resolution to their grievances, the strike will continue. The looming strike at TVET colleges may likely be infused into the #FeesMustFall campaign as the financial demands were similar.
The #FeesMustFall movement was started as a means to pressurise authorities not to stop yearly increases on university tuition fees. It then expanded its demand for a completely free education in all institutions of higher learning.
The campaign, which started with peaceful demonstrations and marches, degenerated into violence with damage to universities’ properties worth millions of rand.