Sixteen students were arrested as the Durban University of Technology (DUT) closed all five of its Durban campuses until further notice.
This was after students on Wednesday morning descended on the university’s campuses to register for the 2021 academic year, which led to protests.
KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) police spokesperson Nqobile Gwala said the arrested students will appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Thursday facing charges of malicious damage to property, illegal gathering and public violence.
DUT closed its campuses over concerns about students flouting Covid-19 regulations by invading the sports centre on the Steve Biko campus in Durban.
In a statement on Wednesday, the DUT management team said the students had reacted to “fake” social media posts, which claimed the university was accepting walk in registrations.
“Following the risk to health, safety and security, the university suspended on-campus support for online registration yesterday, indefinitely,” DUT said.
The university said normal online registrations would continue, without on-campus support.
“Simply, the influx of uninvited people on campus continues to violate the Covid-19 protocols. Overnight, a significant number of people continued to occupy the sports centre and refused requests to leave campus.
“Over the course of this morning, the situation escalated with protestors milling around outside the Steve Biko campus, hurling stones at buildings, damaging university property and barricading public roads, as well as several attempts to invade more buildings on campus.”
The university called on law enforcement authorities to assist.
“It has become clear that the situation is tough to contain and it is being exacerbated with increasing numbers of people trying to force their way onto many other parts of the Durban campuses. This also poses a bigger threat of Covid-19 infections.
“As a result, all five Durban campuses of the University will be closed until further notice. Please note that all online university functions and activities will continue.
“This means that online registration for first time entering students with firm offers will proceed as previously announced.”