Teargas fired as students protest at Durban University of Technology
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Durban - Teargas canisters were fired by private security at the Durban University of Technology on Monday following a protest by the Student Representative Council (SRC).
The SRC had attempted to storm the gates of Steve Biko campus to hand over a memorandum of demands to Vice-chancellor Thandwa Mthembu.
In a memorandum written by the Economic Freedom Fighters-aligned SRC they list a number of demands including the unblocking for registration of students, disbursement of meal of allowances and more residences amongst others.
"The SRC would like to state it very clear that no students shall begin classes on an empty stomach. The students that are currently registered must be given their allowance immediately," the statement read.
Early on Monday, the SRC hosted a mass meeting with the students at the Canegrowers hall at the ML Sultan Campus.
After that, a majority of students, led by the SRC, made their way to Steve Biko campus where the VC's office is situated, to hand over the memorandum.
The students were met with heavily armoured private security guards who had barricaded the gates to Steve Biko campus.
Teargas canisters were fired by the guards to disperse the crowd and it eventually left.
A protesting student with an EFF shirt who did not want to be named said they planned to continue their protests on Tuesday.
"We won't stop till Mthembu (VC) gets the memorandum and all students who are currently excluded are able to register".
Classes at DUT resumed last week after the June holidays. Earlier this year the academic calendar was disrupted for several weeks as students protested similar demands.
DUT SRC President, Sesiyanda Godlimpi, is still suspended following a verbal attack on a staff member.
There was a heavy police presence at the campus on Monday afternoon.
In a statement, the management team at the Durban University of Technology said it was is extremely disappointed that the student protestors disrupted classes and intimidated non-protesting students and staff on some of its Durban campuses.
The university said its Student Services Division, has been continuously engaging with the SRC on a number of issues that they have raised.
"During a meeting between the SRC and the Dean of Students last Thursday, 18 July 2019, consensus was reached on a number of issues. This meeting also created a platform for constructive engagement between Management and the SRC. The University management is disappointed that the SRC did not attend the meeting with the Dean of Students, which was scheduled for this afternoon (22 July 2019), to provide them with feedback and to continue with discussions from their engagements last week. Despite the disruption today (Monday), the University management remains committed to achieving lasting solutions by pursuing consensus through constructive engagement with the SRC. The University apologises to all students and staff who were affected by the disruptions this morning".
This story has been updated to reflect DUT's comment which had not been available when the Daily News broke the story online on Monday.