Protest-hit Umlazi campus re-opens after three weeks

2011-05-03 00:00

THE Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) at Umlazi, Durban, will re-open today after it had been closed for three weeks following a violent protest by students.

The registrar of the university, Mike Naidoo, said normal academic activities will resume today and that all the parties involved have agreed that outstanding issues will be discussed.

Naidoo said that all residences were opened yesterday.

Students were ordered to vacate both internal and external campuses on April 15 after reports of intimidation, damage to property and disruption of classes during the protest. The students said their grievances, dating back to February, had not yet been addressed.

A spokesperson for MUT, Bheki Hlophe, said the protest centred on a memorandum that student representative council (SRC) submitted to the university management, which had raised a number of grievances.

Hlophe said the management has engaged with the SRC on the memorandum.

Among the main issues raised in the memorandum were:

• The provision of meals for all students with National Students Financial Aid Scheme funding

• Access to and security raids on student residences

• Improved living conditions in residences

• The state of the cafeteria

• Safe transportation between the university and student hostel residences

• Operating hours of the university library

Hlophe said all the issues have been addressed and the management is still willing to engage constructively with students on any aspect that needs to be addressed.

SRC secretary-general Mxolisi Ndlovu said the student council was not part of the protest because its had already engaged the university management on the grievances that had been raised during the protest.

Ndlovu said the protesters were trying to further the interests of a particular political organisation on the campus.

He added, “We are happy to say that eight buses have been added to the existing fleet. We urge students to go back to classes because already they have lost three weeks of learning …”

 

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