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Fake message adds fuel to the fire as violent protest rocks DUT

Protesting Durban University of Technology students caused havoc in and around the campus in Durban on Wednesday, blocking roads and vandalising property, before being dispersed by the police. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)

Protesting Durban University of Technology students caused havoc in and around the campus in Durban on Wednesday, blocking roads and vandalising property, before being dispersed by the police. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 7, 2021

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DURBAN - A violent clash between the police and prospective students at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) broke out on Wednesday morning.

Footage online shows a hall at the DUT campus being ransacked by the students.

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An undisclosed number of protesters were arrested by the police, who resorted to anti-protest tactics to disperse the agitated crowd.

DUT said on Wednesday that all five campuses will be closed until further notice.

The protest came after a number of students, all of whom had failed to properly register online for the 2021 academic year, made their way to the Steve Biko campus on Tuesday.

They were responding to an advert that was allegedly posted on the university’s website, indicating that the campus would help those who struggled with online registrations.

DUT said that the influx of students who gathered at the campus this week arrived because of the fake social media post.

This, after pictures surfaced which showed thousands of students packed into a hall on the Steve Biko campus on Tuesday.

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Reports indicate that the students were there to register for the 2021 academic year.

Thousands of walk-in students crowd a hall at the Durban University of Technology, looking for space at the institution. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)

“It does appear that there were a number of unauthorised social media posts inviting all applicants to come to the campuses today, 6 April 2021. Many potential applicants arrived at our gates, expecting to be registered. These persons were not invited by the university to register, nor given any indication that they were to arrive at the university,” DUT said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The unauthorised social media and fake text message invitations resulted in a large-scale influx of persons onto the campuses today.”

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After taking the Covid-19 health and safety regulations into account, DUT said that they have suspended all on-campus support for online registration and are not sure whether it will return.

DUT’s student representative council president, Zabelo Ntuli, said that the campus had failed to properly plan for the academic year, adding that registrations had not been complete nor was there enough accommodation.

Ntuli confirmed that the many students who arrived on campus on Tuesday were responding to a social media post that invited students who faced challenges with online registration to meet at the campus for assistance.

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African News Agency

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Universities

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