The Tshwane North Technical and Vocational Training College has obtained an urgent interdict to stop protesting students from disrupting activities at its campus in Soshanguve South.
Judge Billy Mothle granted the interdict to stop the protesting students from preventing employees, fellow students, security guards and visitors free access to the campus and from carrying weapons and barricading access roads to the campus.
The students were also interdicted from damaging property, harassing, threatening, assaulting, intimidating or preventing any students from attending classes or writing exams and from occupying three of the hostels at the campus.
The principal of the college, Thembi Tsibogo, said in court papers students had early last month handed a list of grievances to management about the pending results of examinations, the reopening of hostels, the shortage of textbooks and lecturers and NSFAS allowances to be paid to students.
The aggrieved students were members of the South African Students Congress (SASCO).
A meeting was held with the leadership of the students’ representative council early in March where an undertaking was given to address their grievances, but students nevertheless commenced with protest action, barricading the entrance gates with burning tyres, intimidating other students and forcibly removing students who were writing exams in examination rooms.
A further meeting was held on 29 March where it became clear that some of the protesters were part of a specific faction of SASCO who were not supported by the SRC and the majority of SASCO members.
Tsibogo said an undertaking was given to resolve the grievances, but the protest action continued, forcing the college to close the campus early for recess. When activities resumed on 18 March, the protesters once against barricaded the entrance gate with burning tyres, chairs and tables and refused to allow anyone access to the campus.
They also physically blocked access from the main road by standing in the road and placing burning tyres on the road.
Tshibogo said the unlawful and violent action of the faction resulted in the campus currently being on total lockdown and some 2300 students being denied an education, as people were being threatened and it was not safe for students and staff to enter the campus.
She said the protest was becoming progressively violent and intimidating. The police could not be present all the time and could not ensure the safety of the students, staff and security guards.