by Binwe Adebayo
Students of the Eastcape Midlands College are currently protesting after certain students were denied full bursaries by National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). As a result, local landlords have threatened to evict those affected.
After some students were evicted on Monday night 24 February, a large crowd of students gathered to protest at around 11pm, many wearing pyjamas. The students moved up along Hill Street and up along Milner Road in Uitenhage.
Some protesters jumped over the College’s fence, before three police vehicles arrived at the scene. The crowd dispersed at around 12.30pm but the protest resumed early this morning and is set to continue until their demands are met.
The Student Representative Council (SRC) is adamant that this is an issue which requires resolution, especially because the deduction from the promised R1 600 to R550 has been enacted across all eight campuses of the Eastcape Midlands College.
Students carrying placards are protesting outside the school, which has deployed HiTec guards to protect staff and the premises. Police vehicles have also driven past the site of the protest during the course of the morning.
Despite cold weather and rain over last night and this morning, the crowd of protesting students has grown. Even those who are not on bursaries have pledged their solidarity.
“If one of our students is affected, we are all affected. People must be angry, this is not fair treatment,” said Office Administration student, Anathi Gongqa.
“We will stay here all day and even tomorrow if needs be. The College needs to help defend our rights. We are their students,” said one student, who declined to be named.
Many of the students with whom Grocott’s Mail spoke refused to give their names as they had been told by officials of the College that this could result in immediate expulsion.
The students, along with Student Liaison Officer Lithemba Busakwe, hope to meet the Department of Higher Education at the Eastcape Midlands College’s head office in Uitenhage.
Despite calls to the College there has been no public response so far.
source: Grocotts Mail