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DUT closes three campuses after violent protests

Smoke rises from one of the DUT campuses yesterday. Students were protesting over a range of issues. Picture: @SZondi via Twitter

Smoke rises from one of the DUT campuses yesterday. Students were protesting over a range of issues. Picture: @SZondi via Twitter

Published Nov 9, 2021

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DURBAN - THE Durban University of Technology (DUT) has decided to close some of its campuses after violent protests yesterday.

The protest action, initiated by the EFF Student Command (EFFSC) Student Representative Council (SRC) resulted in the university stating in a communiqué issued to staff and students that its Steve Biko, Ritson and ML Sultan campuses would be closed.

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Videos circulating on social media showed burnt infrastructure and damage to a library.

Nkululeko Mzobe, chairperson of the SRC, said the institution had been neglecting the needs of the students for far too long.

“We are tired of our pleas falling on deaf ears. The protest was aimed at showing DUT management the students’ anger and demanding action.

“There are a number of issues that we have decided to take a stand against. There are students who have not received their student allowances for over two semesters and they are hungry. Some have not received their learning devices from NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme) but have their exams under way.”

Mzobe said although some students had been approved for funding, they had not received their allowances and the relevant bodies in the institution were not communicating with them.

“Students have been trying for a long time now to be heard. We have visited all relevant departments throughout the year but we are always met with the same response and are told that the institution functions under DUT policies.”

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The SRC said that key issues were late applications, allowances and all funding-related matters, and residences without services including wi-fi and water.

In a communiqué addressed to staff and students, DUT said it had decided to close the three campuses with immediate effect.

The remaining campuses are to stay open, with the essential services staff continuing to operate on all DUT campuses. It said the three affected campuses would reopen tomorrow.

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The DUT management team said it would continue to monitor the situation before implementing any further steps to “protect the lives and well-being of staff and students and to secure university property”.

It added that campus protection, together with the SAPS, had started apprehending suspects and would continue to gather evidence and take appropriate action against those who broke the law and who violated university rules and policies.

A screengrab from a video shows books lying on the floor of a library at DUT.
Smoke rises from one of the DUT campuses yesterday. Students were protesting over a range of issues. | @SZondi via Twitter

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