Vaal university closed after student protests

09 September 2014 - 19:51 By LEBOGANG MOKOENA
Hundreds of students queue to register at the Vaal University of Technology in Vanderbijlpark. Every year students are turned away because of registration problems, lack of space and lack of funding. File Photo
Hundreds of students queue to register at the Vaal University of Technology in Vanderbijlpark. Every year students are turned away because of registration problems, lack of space and lack of funding. File Photo
Image: SUPPLIED

The Vaal University of Technology (VUT) closed yesterday with immediate effect and gave students 24 hours to vacate the premises until further notice.

In a statement, management said the university campus was closed "to safeguard the safety of students and staff following a resurgence of violent protests by the students".

This follows a second week of protests by students who allege they didn't receive their portion of food money from the university.

VUT said a meeting was held with the Student Representative Council (SRC) at the weekend at which a resolution was agreed to that made provision for the University Management contributing 50% of theNational Students Financial Aid Scheme meals shortfall and that normal operations would resume on Monday.

"However the student body reneged on its part of the bargain when the protesting students disrupted operations, damaged university property and put the lives of non-protesting students at risk," the statement said.

"Given the volatility of the situation, Management was left with no option but to close down the campus to ensure restoration of normality and operations. To ensure the safety of staff, Management has also increased security," said Mike Khuboni, Vaal University of Technology spokesperson.

Khuboni confirmed that students had been ordered to vacate the university residences until further notice.

"Management is committed to find amicable solutions as soon as possible so that the University operations may return to normality speedily," he said.

Last week, the VUT's Council Finance Committee undertook to establish a task team compromising student organisations, external members of Council and Executive Management to make presentations to the Department of Higher Education and Training on the reported shortfall of NSFSAS funding.

Khuboni said: "While the allocation process for funds is purely the prerogative of each University across the sector, the University's Financial Aid Committee was established with the full involvement of the SRC amongst others to decide on the allocation process... The University considers the lack of tertiary funding for deserving students in a serious light and is appealing to students to support Management in finding a lasting and sustainable solution".

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