Students say they are frustrated by DUT's online registration and vaccination policy

Prospective Durban University of Technology (DUT) students outside Steve Biko Campus on Wednesday. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African news Agency(ANA)

Prospective Durban University of Technology (DUT) students outside Steve Biko Campus on Wednesday. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African news Agency(ANA)

Published Feb 17, 2022


DURBAN - DURBAN University of Technology (DUT) students say they are upset with the institution’s mandatory vaccination policy and want to be allowed on campus to sort out registration issues.

Issues have been brewing at the campus since Monday, when the EFF-led Student Representative Council (SRC) held a protest to call for in-person registrations to be allowed. The SRC said the online registration process had left some students frustrated.

Many students and prospective students had gathered at the university in a bid to try to get access to the campus.

On Tuesday, DUT temporarily closed three of its Durban campuses after four vehicles parked at the S-Block parking basement on the Steve Biko campus were set alight, allegedly by protesters who invaded the campus. Yesterday, a guard house on the City Campus was petrol bombed.

Lusanda Langazana of Port Shepstone said she had slept outside DUT on Tuesday as she needed assistance to register.

“I physically came here after failing to register online. I received a firm offer to study here, but it was sent to my old email address. So I came here to submit the details of my new email address and I did that. When they responded, my information was submitted to the SRC, who called me and gave me the logins. When I tried to register, I was blocked from the system because I had apparently reached the maximum limit of attempts. I am still not registered.”

She said that it was important for the institution to open their offices and allow students on campus to sort out their administrative issues.

The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) convenor in the Duma Nokwe branch, Sandile Shozi, urged the institution to respond to the students’ pleas.

“First, we are frustrated by the online process. Secondly, students are having difficulty registering as they are not cleared by financial aid,” said Shozi.

DUT ANCYL convener in the Duma Nokwe Branch, Sandile Shozi, said DUT management has to be considerate to vulnerable students who have no means of applying online. Picture: Tumi Pakkies African News Agency (ANA)

Shozi added that the vaccination requirement worsened the situation. According to DUT’s policy, for staff and students to access any DUT campuses, they must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Alternatively, those who are not fully vaccinated, must take a Covid19 PCR test 48 hours before being on campus and that test must be negative, with payment for these PCR tests to be made by the individuals concerned.

“We feel like we are being shut out as students. The president has announced that vaccinating is not mandatory. The institution, however, has decided that an unvaccinated individual cannot enter the premises,” said Shozi.

He added that students not being allowed to enter the campus is problematic as the finance and the admissions department is not responding to the students’ calls and emails.

He urged for a collaborative effort between DUT and the SRC.

In a media statement, Alan Khan, senior director of corporate affairs at DUT, said despite the criminal attacks the situation remained under control.

“The DUT Protection Services personnel are continuing to monitor the situation. The Ritson Campus, ML Sultan Campus and the Steve Biko Campus in Durban remain temporarily closed until further notice. However, online registration and all online activities will continue.”

He added that there were no walkins being accepted and that there was no physical registration taking place on campus.

“Students who have invaded and illegally occupied Steve Biko campus and Winterton residence without due process, as prescribed by Student Housing, including residence registration, have been asked to immediately vacate.

“Only legitimately registered residence students may remain during the temporary closure of the three Durban campuses,” said Khan.

He said the university had filed an urgent application for a court interdict and the papers have been served on all parties.