South Africa 5.2.2014 07:00 am

DUT won’t budge until protest is off

Students at the Durban University of Technology (DUT). Picture supplied

Students at the Durban University of Technology (DUT). Picture supplied

Students at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), which was closed after a violent protest, who had hoped the higher education minister’s intervention would reopen the doors were yesterday dealt a blow.

After a meeting between Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, management and student representatives on Monday, the DUT said it would remain closed.

“We still have not received an undertaking from the Student Representative Council (SRC) that the strike will be suspended,” DUT spokesperson Allan Khan said.

A week ago, the university shut its doors and evicted students from residences after protesters attacked other students and staff.

The SRC’s main demand was that students whose fees had not been paid by the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) be allowed to re-register.

“We made it clear in that meeting that some of the students’ demands were beyond our control. Shortly after the meeting with the mini-ster, they called a press conference and said the strike will continue unless all their demands are met – so we are nowhere close to an agreement,” Khan said.

The university could not put students’ lives at risk, he added. Management would meet with the SRC again but “we cannot raise hopes” because there is “definitely an impasse”.

But SRC president Ayanda Ngidi, said the meeting with Nzimande was fruitful.

“We are confident a solution will be found soon,” he said.

Nzimande recently announced a R1 billion injection into the NSFAS to deal with the problem of students who had not been able to register due to the scheme’s lack of funds.

 

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