Police officers cleaning Mangosuthu Highway after the student's protest in uMlazi, Durban. Picture: Bongani Mbatha /African News Agency (ANA)
Police officers cleaning Mangosuthu Highway after the student's protest in uMlazi, Durban. Picture: Bongani Mbatha /African News Agency (ANA)

MUT heads to court to prevent student protests

By Sakhiseni Nxumalo Time of article published May 10, 2021

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DURBAN - THE Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) is heading to court to apply for an interdict to prevent students from conducting violent protests.

In a statement yesterday, the institution said this was being done to protect the university’s property.

The application comes after students allegedly locked the university gates, preventing staff from entering the premises. It is alleged that a group of dissatisfied students from the Students’ Representatives Council (SRC), led by the EFF Student Command, locked the gates on Friday morning and demanded an urgent resolution regarding the issues affecting students.

On Thursday, the SRC proposed that students be allowed to acquire laptops through the MUT-managed scheme meant for cash-paying students, said the university.

This scheme uses a special Covid19 Responsiveness Grant (CRG) made available by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) for students not funded by the National Students Funding Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

“Management could not accept the SRC’s proposal as the funds in the CRG scheme are limited and meant for the few non-NSFAS-funded students,” said the university. This allegedly angered students, resulting in them locking the gates the following day.”

The university warned that should disruptions continue, management would have no option but to close the university and send students home.

Mbali Mkhize, MUT senior director of marketing and communications, said the current system (for allowance payments) would then be abandoned.

She said teaching and learning would then take place solely through online platforms.

“Therefore, students have the last chance to restore normality. It is time for the silent majority to make a stand and not allow their future to be sacrificed by a minority of students who are advancing their selfish agenda.”

Mkhize said a process was under way to identify students who had been involved in violent and disruptive behaviour. “Once identified, these students will be suspended with immediate effect,” she said.

SRC president Mthokozisi Gumede confirmed that students locked the gates, leaving the staff with no choice but to return home. He said they were aware of the university’s plan to apply for the interdict, but believed it would not be a solution. “As long as students have not been registered, funded, or received their allowances, there will always be disruptions,” he said.

According to Gumede, students also demanded an urgent resolution regarding the funding for post-graduate and advanced diploma students.

Gumede said some issues included the delay in issuing NSFAS allowances by the university.

However, Mkhize said NSFAS allowances had been paid to 6 700 students so far, adding that it was not possible to process the second batch on Friday as staff were not able to enter the campus.

THE MERCURY

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