DURBAN - APPROXIMATELY 16 protesting students from the Durban University of Technology (DUT) are expected to appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Thursday on charges of public violence, malicious damage to property and gathering illegally.
This was after another group of about 500 students gathered at the DUT’s Steve Biko campus demanding to be registered early Wednesday morning, said police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala.
The group was able to gain access to the university by breaking one of the gates. They then went on to smash computers and set alight tyres, and burnt vehicles parked inside the university.
DUT senior director of corporate affairs Alan Khan said: “Over the course of this morning (Wednesday), the situation escalated with protesters milling around outside the Steve Biko campus, hurling stones at buildings, damaging university property, barricading public roads, including several attempts to invade more buildings on campus.”
Public Order Police had to intervene using stun grenades to disperse the violent protesters.
“As a result , all five Durban campuses of the university will be closed until further notice,” said Khan.
Hundreds of prospective students flooded the sports centre at the Steve Biko campus demanding to be registered.
“This was after they had reacted to ‘fake’ social media posts inviting walk-ins to register at DUT. The university did not invite walk-ins to register on campus.”
The university has also made it clear that all online activities and functions within the university would continue. The online registration for first time entering students would continue until Friday.
The Student Representative Council (SRC) of the university was unhappy with the university’s decision to shut all campuses.
DUT SRC president Zabelo Ntuli said: “Prospective students will continue to flood the DUT Steve Biko campus because all the help students need can’t be accessed online as they are experiencing data shortages to begin with.”
He said the SRC had drafted a memorandum of demand, which they would send to the university management. Ntuli said they felt the university had failed to respond positively and timeously to the issues that both prospective and enrolled students were facing. These issues mainly revolve around data and residence issues.