Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

Mangosuthu University of Technology was the scene of violent exchanges yesterday as rival student movements clashed over a strike by one of the groups.

Student leader Dumo Ntyinkala was treated for a head injury at the university clinic.

Pandemonium broke loose when police were called to defuse the clashes - they had been going on for two days - between the student groups, .

The protesters forced lecturers and students to leave lecturer rooms and join the strike.

The feud is between the South African Democratic Students Movement (Sadesmo), which is aligned to the IFP, and the South African Students Congress (Sasco), which is aligned to the ANC.

Sadesmo distanced itself from the incidents and blamed Sasco, which it accused of using student issues to voice objections against the suspension of vice-chancellor Aaron Ndlovu.

SRC president Ntokozo Zwane accused Sasco of bussing in students from other institutions, including the University of KwaZulu-Natal, to take part in the protest action .

Ndlovu was suspended in December on the recommendations of independent assessor Vincent Maphai.

Some of the irregularities Maphai identified included the council allowing Ndlovu to create a culture of fear, injustice, acts of retribution and victimisation on campus.

Professor Jonathan Jansen was appointed to oversee the running of the institution until the probe is finalised by Minister of Education Naledi Pandor.

Yesterday, Jansen read the riot act to students. "I will not tolerate any behaviour or actions that will compromise or endanger the lives of students and lecturers and the destruction of property on the campus," he said.

Sasco's Nhlakanipho Sibisi said the two groups clashed because their members did not agree with Sadesmo on the delayed provision of accommodation.

"Sasco feels that the students' needs are not being taken seriously," said Sibisi.

"We did not intimidate others, but we were the ones attacked. We did not bus in any students."

Police spokesperson Kephu Ndlovu said police intervened and dispersed the two groups. No arrests were made.