Nine students were arrested at the Mangosuthu University of Technology today at the uMlazi campus after a student protest turned violent.
Nine students were arrested at the Mangosuthu University of Technology today at the uMlazi campus after a student protest turned violent.

Varsity students, police continue to clash

By Mphathi Nxumalo Time of article published Feb 19, 2019

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Durban - A second round of protests at tertiary institutions around Durban on Monday resulted in five students being arrested.

The protests were characterised by violent demonstrations as students and police clashed.

Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at protesting students at Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT). Nine students were arrested.

MUT Student Representative Council president Codesa Gwala said they wanted fee increments to stop. He said some students were not given money by the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and had paid out of their own pockets to register. Gwala said the fee increment ranged from R6 000 to R8 000.

The protests also resulted in a Daily News photographer being pelted with rocks as he tried to take pictures of events. He escaped unharmed.

A protest was also held at the Steve Biko campus of Durban University of Technology (DUT), from where about 100 students made their way to the city hall to hand over a memorandum of grievances.

The students demanded justice for Mlungisi Madonsela, who was killed by a security guard during the first round of protests at the university two weeks ago.

The students also demanded that Xcellent Security Services be removed from the institution.

“We want the intervention of the NPA and the government officials who are in high authority in Durban,” said SRC president Sesiyanda Godlimpi, adding that President Cyril Ramaphosa should intervene in the matter.

Godlimpi said they also wanted students who had been blocked from registration to be allowed back. He said some student residences were in a poor state and they would not allow lectures to resume until these matters were resolved.

Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said five people were arrested for public violence. She said a group of students had protested outside a residence and blocked roads with beds and broken bottles at Mahatma Gandhi (Point) Road on Sunday. Police had dispersed the group, she said.

At the University of Zululand (UNIZULU), four mobile health units were destroyed. Dr Michael Bennish, of Mpilonhle, the non-governmental organisation that owns the units, said they distressed by the developments. He said the units were designed to help community members and had over the past 12 years helped about 500 000 people with HIV tests, and social and other services.

Bennish said the units, worth about R2 million, had been recently refurbished.

“They would have lasted another 20 years,” he said.

UNIZULU spokesperson Gcina Nhleko said the reason for damage to university property was unknown.

“Damage was reported to the University chapel, the ICT building and kitchens, and a university vehicle was burned. The extent of the damage is unknown at this stage,” she said.

Nhleko said it was believed the damage was related to meal allowances.

Meanwhile, criminals have capitalised on the chaos at DUT over the past few weeks, pouncing on students and robbing them of their valuables.

The Daily News has been reliably informed that the modus operandi of these criminals is to rob students walking along Steve Biko (Mansfield) Road and use the dozens of taxis on the route to escape. Security guards at DUT have been on the defensive since the shooting of Mlungisi Madonsela two weeks ago, leaving students to fend for themselves as they travel between the campuses on Steve Biko Road.

Daily News

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