Guards and students clash as protests resume: DUT

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

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

Durban University of Technology (DUT) students boycotting classes yesterday accused the university of treating them like “criminals” following violent clashes between boycotting students and security guards as protests resumed at the institution.

“They randomly fired rubber bullets at students – even those students not protesting had to run for cover. It’s chaos,” Thandi Dlamini, a third-year student at the university, said.

“We are trying to get an education here but we are being treated like criminals,” she said.

On Monday, protests had resumed at the institution following a deadlock in talks between the university’s management and students.

The students are protesting over lack of funding that could result in thousands of returning students not being able to register this year. The university had given students until Friday to register.

Ayanda Ngidi, president of the Student Representative Council (SRC) at DUT, said there had been very little progress in attempts to get cash-strapped students registered.

“There are still about 9 000 students who are not yet registered due to outstanding fees and other reasons, and hence today students held a meeting at the Steven Biko Campus demanding to be registered,” Ngidi said.

Three weeks ago the university reopened classes after shutting down for nearly two weeks following violent student protests that saw non-striking students and staff being attacked and intimidated.

Following the intervention of Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, the SRC had agreed to suspend the strike and give negotiations a chance.

“So far there is very little that has come out of the negotiations and hence threats by students to resume mass action,” Ngidi said.

The main demand of the SRC was that students, whose fees had not been paid by the National Students Financial Aid Scheme, should be allowed to re-register despite the non-payment.

DUT spokesperson Allan Khan could not be reached for comment.


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