Learning at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) came to a standstill on Monday when protesting students disrupted tests and lectures and chased non-protesting students out of class.The protest involving hundreds of students was believed to be organised by the Pan African Students Movement of Azania (PASMA) which is pushing for Vice-Chancellor Mazwi Tanga’s resignation, claiming there has been no improvement at the institution since she took office in 2009.
A student who identified herself only as Amanda, said: “I was writing a law test when a group of PASMA members came into our class. They ordered every one to stop writing and switched off all our computers. Some opened a fire extinguisher we all ran outside. They were singing and marching on top of our desks.”
No warning was given and she was not able to save her work. She said students who resisted were physically dragged out of the class.
Another student who refused to give her name said PAMSA’s actions were “selfish”.
“We’re writing international exams next week. They should have waited until exams are over. Some of us need the marks we missed on our test.”
PAMSA branch executive committee secretary Anathi Zengethu said the student organization was “not happy” with Vice-Chancellor Mazwi Tanga.
“We would be happy if she can be removed.”
He said PAMSA presented a number of concerns to Tanga in 2009 and promises were made, “but the service is getting poorer.”
Among the 15 percent increase in residence fees was something PAMSA “rejects” and library opening hours should be extended from 9.30pm to midnight. Additionally they wanted better, and more, computers and printers.
Addressing a gathering of almost 1 000 students outside the administration building, Zengethu said protest action would continue until their memorandum was accepted.
CPUT spokesperson Thami Nkwanyane confirmed that classes had been disrupted at both Cape Town and Bellville campuses.
“The management will get the memorandum from students tomorrow and we will respond according to it,” said Nkwanyane. – Nombulelo Damba, West Cape News