Students and staff at the University of Fort Hare (UFH) Alice campus were instructed to vacate the campus until further notice this week, after students set a building alight and looted a book store.
The students, who are protesting over water outages and power cuts on campus, poor WiFi connections and not receiving their meal and travel allowances, reportedly caused R200 000 worth of property damage to a student centre. The students are also protesting over NSFAS allowances which they say have not yet been received.
Sibongiseni Mthungatha, a final year student at the university told The Daily Vox that students will continue to protest until management negotiates with them. â€œWe want our money. The person in management who has access to all of student funds doesn’t want to leave his office and address us. We need to break things in order for people to listen to you,â€ he said.
Mthungatha said students have been struggling to buy textbooks and travel to campus because they have not received NSFAS allowances. â€œWe havenâ€™t even received our NSFAS loan agreements We have to ask our parents for transport money to get to school, money they donâ€™t even have,â€ he added.
In a press statement, UFH spokesperson Khotso Moabi said about 1 000 students have not signed their NSFAS loan agreements, which has resulted in them not receiving their payments.
Moabi disputed the claims of power cuts on campus, saying there had only been power cuts at one residence and that this has since been fixed. He said that the university intends to finish the academic year, despite student protests and have increased the security presence on the campus. Police have already arrested several students involved in the protests.