By Sifiso Nhlabatsi | 2018-02-14
After being sent home for almost three weeks, students at William Pitcher College stormed the institution yesterday demanding that they be allowed to go back to class.
The students engaged in a peaceful meeting at SNAT Centre before heading to the college.
However, they met with resistance as security guards denied them entry to the college. While they were waiting to be addressed by the administration, police arrived at the scene and started assaulting the students telling them that they were not supposed to be at or near the school’s premises.
The students who have been home for almost three weeks decided to hold an urgent meeting after seeing that they were falling behind on their studies and during this meeting it was revealed that the Student Representative Council had tried a number of times to have an audience with Principal Philemon Gumedze to no avail.
The SRC President Sifiso Mahlalela informed students that they went to the ministry of labour and social security to enquire about their unpaid allowances and they were informed that they could not be addressed in the absence of the college’s administration.
It was for this reason that the SRC did not get any clear answers pertaining the allowances. Mahlalela did however reveal that they were informed off the record that the ministry was still facilitating payment for students. Seeing that they were ordered to go back and come with someone from the college administration offices, Mahlalela said it dawned on them as SRC that they were never going to get any help because the administration would never agree to accompany students to Mbabane.
The SRC decided to call a meeting seeing that staying at home wasn’t benefitting anyone. During the meeting students resolved that they would go and meet with the administration where they would negotiate that they go back to class because they were missing out on a lot of things.
After hours of singing at the gate of the institution, the administration was called and students were informed that they would be addressed shortly. However, within minutes a police vehicle loaded with officers arrived and chased the students away from the college’s gate.
When students tried to talk with the officers telling them what they were there for the officers started assaulting some of the students saying “ngeke sgcilatwe bantfwana”.
One officer further informed the students that they were not needed at the college since they are supposed to be home. Students retreated and went to the SNAT centre where they assembled.
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