‘Wheel spanner bully’: student back at DUT

2011-06-13 00:00

THE return of a “bullying” former SRC president to Durban University of Technology’s midlands campus after three months of suspension has left his fellow students fearing for their safety.

Phumlani Duma, a third-year management student, is a controversial figure at the Indumiso branch.

He lost his SRC position for allegedly assaulting three women last year.

A charge for damaging a student’s vehicle was recently withdrawn by the Pietermaritzburg court for lack of “collaborating witnesses”.

A tribunal that was hearing internal charges against him cleared him of the charges on Monday and allowed him to return to the campus to be with the same students he allegedly brutalised. Now his alleged victims want to know how the management reached the verdict.

“There was an internal disciplinary hearing for Phumlani Duma and the commissioner found that there was not enough evidence against him. As a result he was found not guilty,” said Professor Nqabomzi Gawe, DUT deputy vice-chancellor for institutional support.

Duma has been dubbed the “wheel spanner man” as he allegedly used a wheel-spanner in his attacking spree on March 19.

He is a prominent figure on the midlands campus. He was also a member of the South African Student Congress (Sasco) and a leader of the local branch of the ANC Youth League. In April, he posted a picture on Facebook in which he proudly holds the wheel spanner.

He allegedly used the wheel spanner to damage a 2006 VW Polo Player belonging to a second-year public relations student.

On the same day Duma and five friends also allegedly assaulted a third-year bachelor of education student using the same wheel spanner.

The student confirmed being assaulted with a wheel spanner inside the campus on March 19.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan said Duma was arrested for assaulting the student.

“The case was in court on June 2. The docket is still with the prosecutor so we don’t know which date was the case postponed to, said Jeevan.

Duma said the disciplinary hearing took the right decision: “All these charges were political orchestrations. I’m back to complete my diploma and that is all.”

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