DUT library flooded, office fire-bombed during demos

2009-03-06 00:00

A library was flooded and a registrar’s office petrol-bombed, but the Durban University of Technology (DUT) has described as minor the damage to property in the aftermath of protests at a number of its campuses since last Thursday.

University spokeswoman Nomonde Mbadi said the library at the Steve Biko campus was affected by water left running on Wednesday, allegedly by students.

She said the water seeped through the ceiling from the floor above the library.

“There was minor damage to the ceiling tiles, some books and the carpet in the library. We are still assessing the cost of the damage and at this point we do not have figures.”

Wednesday’s protests were fanned by the arrest of five student leaders last Friday for contravening a court interdict.

The student representative council (SRC) members clashed with management over lack of accommodation.

They allegedly held members of management hostage and refused to leave the boardroom where they held their meeting.

This was followed by the petrol bombing of the registrar’s office at the Landsdale building early on Sunday morning.

The university said the matter is under investigation.

During protests on Monday, police had to be called in after non-protesting students were barred from entering the Steve Biko campus.

The demonstrations later continued outside the Durban Magistrate’s Court where the SRC members appeared.

Mbadi said academic activities were suspended on Wednesday on all campuses as a result of the various disruptions at Steve Biko, Ritson, M.L. Sultan and Indumiso campuses.

“A meeting between management and the SRC took place on Wednesday. At that meeting the SRC promised to submit the list of students they say require accommodation. We hoped that they would’ve submitted the list by now as they had indicated the seriousness of the matter.”

She said the information will assist in understanding the problem and assisting the students.

However, she maintained that DUT has reached its capacity for outsourced accommodation for 2009.

“The university is prepared to assist students provided they are funded by the National Students’ Financial Aid Scheme or they have bursaries.”

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