VARSITY PROTEST ACTION PUT ON HOLD
THE students representative council at the Durban University of Technology yesterday put its protest on hold after yet another clash with security guards at the Ritson Road campus.
SRC publicist Sifiso Mdakane said concern for the the safety of students had compelled them to put the protest on hold and come up with a new strategy to air their grievances.
Protesters ran in all directions when they came under fire from the security guards, who fired rubber bullets. Three students were injured during the protest, now in its fourth day.
A female student was hit above the eye and needed medical attention to stop the bleeding. She was taken to a local hospital by medical personnel.
Last Thursday 10 students were injured when security guards fired on them at the Steve Biko campus.
Mdakane said the postponement of the protest was not permanent. He said concern for the students' lives was more important.
"The strike is not over. We have merely postponed it since we do not want people to get injured unnecessarily. We have to come up with a strategy that will not put people's lives at risk," Mdakane said.
Police spokesperson Vincent Mdunge said they had received a report of damage to property and had sent two units to asses the situation.
He said a student was arrested but later released since no one wanted to open a case against the suspect.
"We received a call that a group of about 300 students were causing chaos at DUT. We are aware that our members had to to use rubber bullets and paintballs to break up the protest," Mdunge said.
He said students had already dispersed by the time the police officers arrived on the scene.
DUT management confirmed the incident, saying the security guards were forced to use rubber bullets and paintballs to disperse students who wanted to attack the security guards.
"Management at DUT is currently meeting the SRC to further discuss outstanding issues raised by the students," spokesperson Bhekani Dlamini said.
In its latest statement DUT management said it had reached agreement with students on some issues, including a rollover of last year's outstanding fees. This means the financial situation of successful students would be dealt with individually.
The agreement also dealt with accommodation. The SRC was given the task of finding suitable buildings that could be used as residences for students.
Dlamini maintained that the process of registration was not affected and continued as scheduled.