Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

Durban – The academic programme is set to resume at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) on Monday, vice chancellor Thandwa Mthembu has said on Friday. 

“Management and the Student Representative Council (SRC) have agreed to resume all academic activities as of Monday 28,” said Mthembu.

He was speaking at a press briefing at the institution.

DUT has been plagued by a series of violent protests – one ending in the death of a student – and disruptions, mainly at its Steve Biko campus, since early February.

The registration process and lectures were subsequently delayed.  

The academic programme was suspended after February 5 when student Mlungisi Madonsela was shot during an altercation with security guards contracted to the institution. Madonsela later died in hospital. 

Preceding the incident, students at various tertiary education institutions throughout the province embarked on a “total shutdown” of campuses, with DUT’s SRC heeding the call.  Madonsela was shot the day after the shutdown protests started. 

The students have been protesting inadequate or no accommodation and problems with access to student funding. Mthembu said a call had been made for service providers to provide accommodation and NSFAS had been working with DUT to “whittle” down the number of students who had problems with funding. 

When the institution tried to resume lectures on Monday this week, disruptions again took place; death threats were allegedly made against staff and non-protesting students. 

As a result, DUT approached the court on Thursday to seek an urgent interim interdict against violent demonstrations. The interdict was granted. 

Students are henceforth restrained from protesting within 150 metres of all of DUT’s Durban-based campuses and from damaging property and intimidating staff and non-protesting students. 

The implications of the interdict were explained to the SRC, said Madonsela. The gist being that it was to protect non-protesting students and the institution. Protests were still allowed, he said, but subject to the conditions of the temporary interdict. The SRC was within its rights to challenge the interdict in court, he said. 

The academic programme at both of DUT’s Midlands campuses has been continuing as normal. 

African News Agency/ANA