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Mangosuthu University of Technology students cause R2m worth of damage; 22 arrested for violent protests

Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) suspended all lectures and examinations scheduled for today due to violent student protest, which endangered the lives of staff and led to the destruction of university property. Picture: Anelisa Kubheka

Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) suspended all lectures and examinations scheduled for today due to violent student protest, which endangered the lives of staff and led to the destruction of university property. Picture: Anelisa Kubheka

Published Jun 26, 2022

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Durban — The Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) has revealed that recent violent protests resulted in the destruction of property worth R2 million, and that 22 students have been arrested.

In an update, acting vice-chancellor and principal Professor Marcus Ramogale said the unrest that had engulfed the university started on June 13, when a group of masked students disrupted first-semester examinations, demanding, among other things, the postponement of these examinations in order to have a study time of several days.

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KwaZulu-Natal police allege that protesting students overpowered security guards and torched the security guardhouse, two offices and two vehicles at the Mangosuthu University of Technology. Supplied

Ramogale said it escalated on June 23 when a violent student protest erupted on the main campus. A group of about 30 students, some with their faces covered, started pelting security personnel at the main entrance with stones. The security personnel scattered. The protesting group was carrying several 5-litre containers of sanitiser, which they then used to torch university buildings and two vehicles.

He said an investigation began as soon as the police and additional security arrived.

“It has since been established that MUT and non-MUT students were involved. The external hand involved was in the form of hired students from sister universities in the province of KwaZulu-Natal,” Ramogale said.

He said an assessment of damage to property was under way, and so far they had been able to establish the following:

  • Main entrance to the university and the guardroom were set alight;
  • Two vehicles - a bakkie and a sedan - were burnt;
  • The windows of a university 22-seater bus were broken;
  • Part of the Protection Services building was set alight;
  • There was an unsuccessful attempt to burn the examinations office;
  • Windows and glass doors to the West Wing of the Administration Building were broken;
  • Windows at the Academic Affairs offices (Step 1 to Step 6) were broken;
  • Glass door to the Senate Chamber area was broken;
  • There was damage to several buildings on the North Campus; and
  • Several refrigerators and mobile toilets were burnt.

“So far, the total damage is estimated to be above R2 million,” Ramogale said.

He said MUT opened a case of trespassing, arson, and damage to university property with the Umlazi police station.

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KwaZulu-Natal police allege that protesting students overpowered security guards and torched the security guardhouse, two offices and two vehicles at the Mangosuthu University of Technology. Anelisa Kubheka

Police spokesperson Constable Thenjiswa Ngcobo confirmed that charges of malicious damage to property and arson will be opened at the Umlazi police station for investigation.

Ramogale said that so far they can confirm the following as a result of investigations conducted:

  • Up to now, a total of 22 MUT students have been identified and allegedly positively linked with the planning and execution of Thursday’s destruction of university property. All these 22 students have been suspended;
  • Of the 22 students, four are current SRC members. Another one is a former MUT SRC president;
  • A former MUT student who is on suspension for taking part in a violent protest in 2021 has been identified as one of the alleged culprits and a criminal charge will be preferred against him;
  • Two MUT students who allegedly drafted and posted a statement about the students’ intentions on Facebook are among the 22 identified as culprits and have been suspended by the university;
  • Two “hired” students from the University of Zululand were arrested on Thursday, June 23, in connection with the destruction of MUT property and are facing criminal charges. “We will ask the management of the University of Zululand to charge these students for allegedly bringing the name of their university into disrepute”;
  • A hired student from the University of KwaZulu-Natal was also arrested on Thursday in connection with the destruction of MUT property and is facing criminal charges. They will ask the management of the University of KwaZulu Natal to charge this student for allegedly bringing the name of his university into disrepute;
  • A “hired” student from Unisa was also arrested on Thursday in connection with the destruction of MUT property and is facing criminal charges. They will ask the management of Unisa to charge this student for allegedly bringing the name of Unisa into disrepute; and
  • Of the 22 MUT students identified as alleged culprits, several were arrested on Friday night. Others are on the run. They expect more arrests as the investigations continue.

Daily News

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