VARSITY IN CHAOS
LECTURERS were suspended again at the troubled Durban University of Technology following two weeks of violent protest action.
Yesterday DUT's acting vice-chancellor Professor Nqabomzi Gawe said management had suspended all academic activities until the beginning of the second term on April 6.
On Tuesday, 62 students were arrested and charged with public violence after they clashed with police. Property on the institution's Steve Biko campus in Durban was also destroyed.
The strike has interrupted examinations at the university, forcing students to return home without writing their papers.
Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande is to appoint an investigator to head an external probe into the ongoing students' protest at the institution.
Department of Higher Learning and Training spokesperson Ranjeni Munusamy said Nzimande had assigned senior officials from the department to mediate between the students and management but due to Tuesday's activities the minister decided to launch an external investigation concerning the students' grievances.
"The minister received a report highlighting safety concerns from the officials assigned to DUT and he then decided to launch an external investigation. In the coming days he will appoint someone to lead that investigation," said Munusamy.
The university's Student Representative Council president Mfanafuthi Ngwabe said they were committed to engaging in talks with management so that academic programmes could resume when the university reopens.
He said the court interdict issued against them will not obstruct their efforts to help resolve students' grievances.
"We hope the officials sent by the minister will help solve these issues before the university reopens. We informed the students about the interdict and they understand that it is their concerns we are fighting for," said Ngwabe.
The students in Durban and Pietermaritzburg are protesting over the poor quality and high prices of food sold in the cafeterias, the lack of shuttle buses, early closure of academic resources such as libraries and lack of students accommodation provided by the university.