Four DUT students nabbed after chaos

14 February 2020 - 06:50
By Lwandile Bhengu
One of the four arrested students at DUT is led away yesterday./Sandile Ndlovu
One of the four arrested students at DUT is led away yesterday./Sandile Ndlovu

Four students have been arrested at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) after unrest broke out at Steve Biko campus yesterday.

Campus security guards ordered students to leave after members of the EFF Student Command tried to hand over a memorandum to the vice-chancellor's office.

"This morning at 10am a group of students blocked the entrance at Steve Biko campus and damaged the windows at the student apartment," said police spokesperson Col Thembeka Mbele yesterday.

A memorandum, purportedly drawn up by the student representative council (SRC), lists several financial and accommodation issues, mainly around the issuing of NSFAS allowances for food and books and the phasing out of the Bachelor of Technology programme which some students had already started.

The memorandum called for the suspension of the academic programme until the issues had been resolved.

"The SRC, after assessing progress on many issues, in particular the issue of registration, accommodation and allowances ... has noted delays which fundamentally undermine the ability of students to carry out their academic commitment under normal circumstances," read the memo.

In a statement, the university hit back, saying it had met with the SRC on Wednesday and it did not express any desire to shut the campus down.

It also warned against people "masquerading as the university's student leadership".

"It must be noted that the student registration process is still under way and that management will not engage with people who are claiming to be registered DUT students.

"DUT management will not engage with groups claiming to represent the student body when there is a democratically elected SRC at DUT, with members who are legitimately registered with the institution," the university said.

However, acting SRC president Andisiwe Dyantyi said they only had an informal, brief meeting with the dean of students where they mentioned that they wanted to hand over a memorandum to management.

"All we wanted was to submit our demands to the vice-chancellor, only to find out they won't let us do that."

Mbele said the situation on campus was calm and that the arrested students were expected to appear in court today.