UNIVERSITY UNDER SIEGE
LECTURES at the Durban University of Technology's Midlands campus in Pietermaritzburg were abandoned yesterday.
This followed Monday's violent clashes between protesting students and the police.
Lectures at the university were scheduled to begin yesterday shortly after management had briefed the student community.
But the student representative council said it was unhappy after university management had failed to engage in talks with the representatives but responded through an e-mail.
Students protested outside the premises in large numbers but slowly dispersed as the morning progressed. By noon the campus was empty.
SRC president Sipho Mdliva said an email sent by Reggie Ngcobo, executive director at the Midlands campus, was not what they had expected and it did not provide any solutions to their grievances.
"We were ready to engage in talks with management but they refused to meet us," Mdliva said.
"The email said some of our concerns are going to be investigated and others are in the process of improvement."
Mdliva said they would continue with the protest action until their grievances were addressed.
The strike at the Midlands campus also ignited another protest at the University's Durban campuses on Wednesday.
The protest led to the suspension of lectures that were due to resume today.
DUT acting vice-chancellor Nqubomzi Gawe confirmed that lectures at all DUT campuses were suspended and expected to resume today.
She said security was beefed-up to deal with any misconduct from the protesting students.
"Management at DUT received a memorandum from the student representative council containing a list of student concerns," Gawe said.
"These include the need to increase the number of buses available to and from the university, the quality and price of food served at vending machines and cafeterias on campus and insufficient vending machines."
SRC spokesperson at DUT in Durban, Sifiso Mdakane, said students expected to be briefed by management today.
"Our grievances have been tabled and we are hoping that they will be resolved to avoid further disruptions of the exams," Mdakane said yesterday.
Meanwhile, the students who were arrested on Monday in Pietermaritzburg appeared in court charged with public violence and damage to property.
Of the 10 arrested, seven will reappear in court on April 9.