“Sedibeng Military Campus”
That is how some of the student groups have described the current state of affairs at the Sedibeng TVET College (Sedcol). The institution has increased security personnel following a violent protest at the Vereeniging Central campus in Wednesday, February 5.
In an internal memo released by the college’s pricipal and CEO, Dr Mothapo on Tuesday, the campus has suspended all operations until further notice.
Students were informed to immediately evacuate from the campus an hour after entry into campus.
Speaking on the security measures taken by the college, various student bodies have voiced against this move.
“Instead of making efforts to register students they’ve deployed more than 100 securities and bouncers. One can easily mistaken our Campuses for police academies. It makes no logical sense that bouncers have been deployed in every corner of Heidelberg Campus when there was no violence outbreaks nor any demonstrations,” said the EFFSC (Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command) Sedibeng Heidelberg campus in a statement.
The group said they have encountered unidentified bouncers wearing balaclavas, who demand to conduct to search students.
The Heidelberg EFFSC ask why their campus has extra security, as the protests only occurred in the Vaal.
“The environment is not conducive for learning the campus is highly militarized what logic did Heidelberg Campus apply in deploying bouncers to search and victimize unarmed students who have never declared any violent intentions. We stand in solidarity with our Comrades who have been highly victimized by the College, students have been arrested and female students shot at,” said the group.
The ‘Young Lions’ in Lesedi also voiced their concern with the security upgrades.
“We as the Young Lions question if it was a Stellenbosch or white-dominated college, would such take place? Would they be search at the entrance as if they are at the correctional services? We see this a an insult to young black minds.” said the group in a Facebook post.
Both student groups has highlighted several infrastructural issues affecting not only the Heidelberg campus, but the institution as a whole. According to some students, there is overcrowded classes.
“The N5 Public Management has been combined two classes and students have to share desks and chairs,” said one of the students.
In one recent instance at Heidelberg campus, students had to share computers in their studies as some were not working properly.
In a memorandum by the EFFSC during the protest, they have called on the immediate removal of the campus CEO/principal Dr. Mothapo. Various posts on social media with the hashtag #mothapomustfall have gained popularity since the institution has been closed.
Posts from the EFFSC in Sedibeng college claim that the college spends an estimated R150 000 daily to the security company hired. Some claim that the guards were instructed to use lethal force if necessary.
Sedibeng TVET College is the only public higher learning institution providing post-school qualifications for residents in the three municipalities, Emfuleni, Lesedi and Midvaal. They provide many academic courses and training programs for its students, mainly focuses on engineering and business studies.