Bid to drop DUT charges fails

The students who were arrested during a violent protest at the Durban University of Technology will appear in court soon after several attempts by the Students representative council to have the charges dropped failed.

The 62 students from the Durban campus and seven from the Pietermaritzburg Midlands campus were arrested during the unrest.

The students from Pietermaritzburg are expected to appear in court today, while those from the Durban campus will appear next month.

Sicelo Mabizela, SRC secretary the Midlands campus, said they had pleaded with management to drop the charges against the students, but were told that the issue was beyond management's control because some of the property that was damaged during the protest belonged to private individuals.

Mabizela said: "Management's response was that the students should account for their mistakes in court."

Mabizela said they were concerned that the time consumed by the court appearances would affect the students who had to attend every lecture to compensate for lost time.

Midlands campus student Simphiwe Nzuza criticised management for refusing to drop the charges.

Brigadier Phindile Radede, police spokesperson, said all the students who were arrested were formally charged with public violence. She said they would all have to appear in court as scheduled.

The university was contacted for comment but failed to respond.