STUDENTS END STRIKE
REGISTRATION is back to normal at the troubled Durban University of Technology after striking students decided to suspend their protest action.
Yesterday university authorities called for a heavy deployment of police after two days of mass action and clashes between campus guards and protesters.
On Tuesday three students were injured when they were hit by rubber bullets for allegedly damaging university property and invading registration venues.
Last Thursday 10 students were injured in a similar clash with campus security personnel.
University spokesperson Nqabomzi Gawe said DUT management would meet the student representative council today to finalise outstanding issues.
"The SRC has requested additional time to study management's proposals," Gawe said.
"Management gave students' concerns increased attention during talks with the SRC over the last week and hopes to reach a settlement in order to put this matter to rest.
"Management is hopeful that negotiations will be concluded.
"This will bring the campus back to normality and ensure that the the registration process is concluded in time so that the 2010 academic programme can commence without further interruptions."
As students registered yesterday members of the SRC were in a meeting at Cane Growers Hall, ML Sultan Campus, discussing their plan to move forward.
The SRC on Tuesday decided to halt protest action after clashes with security guards left a female student seriously wounded.
The students representatives said only the Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande could intervene and help sort out the issues rapidly.
But the department only sent directors since the minister had other commitments.
"For the safety of our students we have decided to halt the strike. We will utilise other ways of conveying our grievances to management," SRC spokesperson Sifiso Mdakane said.
The protest action has elicited comments from various students organisations.
Congress of the People Students Movement national coordinator Bulali Mdontsane criticised the leadership of the ANC-aligned SRC over the protest action.
He said while they acknowledged the students' grievances, they were against the timing of the protest since it angered new students and parents.
"We question the timing of the action," Mdontsane said. "The strike derails the registration process and the students, especially the new ones, become frustrated with the unwelcoming environment created by the strike."
The Young Communist League in a statement applauded the fact that the students had chosen to protest for their voices to be heard.
The organisation expressed rage over what it called "money talks and everything walks policy" adopted by the university management.