Police to enforce DUT interdict

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Students queue on the DUT campus for registration. Pictures: Marilyn Bernard

Durban - While classes are expected to resume on Thursday at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), several students have been suspended following campus protests.

On Wednesday DUT Vice-Chancellor, Ahmed Bawa, said disciplinary hearings would determine the students’ fate.

“These students, who were part of the violent protests, have been charged in accordance with the university rules and policies,” said Bawa.

DUT spokesman, Alan Khan, was unable to say how many students had been suspended.

Lectures were suspended following protests on Tuesday at the Durban campus. The Pietermaritzburg campus was unaffected.

On Tuesday the university obtained an interim high court interdict against 15 students including the Students Representative Council leadership and other students from the Durban campuses.

The interdict prevents students from protesting within 100m of the university’s campus premises, damaging of property, intimidating other students, and disruption of lecturers by way of their protests.

“DUT had reached an agreement with the SRC 14 days ago and unfortunately the SRC has since abandoned that commitment to not have violent protests, intimidation and disruptions on campus,” said Khan.

“DUT has to take special measures to protect its community and property. It’s also important to note that the university received no prior notification from the SRC with regard to this week’s protests,” he said.

He said a new high court order was being enforced and the SAPS would ensure the interdict was not violated.

SRC president Ayanda Ngidi could not comment on the suspension of the students. But he denied that the SRC had staged protests without notifying the university.

“They are lying. They knew our agreement before the strike. The issue is that police started shooting at students with rubber bullets and students responded. We were peaceful,” he said.

Ngidi said they did not agree with the university regarding the court interdict.

“We can’t even afford to have a lawyer to fight the interdict,” he said.

The university said it had received a list of concerns from the SRC relating to financial aid issues for returning students.

The SRC gave DUT a list of 400 students of which only 200 were recognised as “having genuine issues”.

“Some of them qualify for financial aid but they have been unsuccessful in getting into the academic programmes. Given the fact that the SRC has clearly reneged on its agreement with the university, DUT will now be dealing with these 200 students directly,” said Khan.

Ngidi said “everything can be sorted” if the university registers the remaining students.

The protests erupted earlier this year over the non-payment of fees. Several students were initially not allowed to register pending the payment of fees.

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