Anger over living conditions

LEADERS: Sasco secretary Philani Mlambo and Mthunzi Gumede. Pic. Mhlaba Memela. © Sowetan.
LEADERS: Sasco secretary Philani Mlambo and Mthunzi Gumede. Pic. Mhlaba Memela. © Sowetan.

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

Lectures came to a standstill at the troubled Pietermaritzburg campus of the Durban University of Technology yesterday.

Students protested outside the campus over "unsatisfactory conditions" at the institution's residences.

About 1300 students closed down the institution demanding that management delivers on its promises a year ago to renovate their residences.

The students vowed that lectures and the registration of semester students would not continue if their grievances were ignored.

A student representative, Linda Madlala, said the conditions they lived under at the campus' residences did not match the R9000 they paid a year.

"There is no hot water. We are forced to use cold water in the middle of winter," said Madlala.

"We demand that residences be renovated. Until we get a response to these grievances, we will not go back to lectures," he said.

At a meeting between the student representatives and students at the Durban campus on Wednesday, students accused the university's financial manager of frustrating them as he had repeatedly ignored their demands.

Students representative council spokesman Mthunzi Gumede said a promise to build a students' village and alleviate overcrowding was made long ago. He also said the promise to renovate residences was made long ago, but management had failed to deliver on its promises.

Among other student grievances is the registration fee increase of between R1000 and R2000 for fulltime and semester students next year.

Gumede said they had given management until today to respond to their grievances. These included issues relating to fees, accommodation, transport and financial aid to needy students.

On the issue of the fees increase, university spokesman Nomonde Mbadi said the institution presented a fee adjustment proposal to the SRC annually for discussion.

This year the increase was based on an inflation-related increase. "The proposal on the table takes into account the tuition, accommodation and first instalment fees for next year," Mbadi said.