Durban: Students on the rampage

2009-02-03 00:00

University students went on the rampage at both the Durban University of Technology (DUT) and the University of KZN yesterday, damaging property and bringing registration and lectures to a halt.

Police spokesman Inspector Michael Read said two students were arrested during a violent confrontation at the DUT’s Steve Biko campus in Durban and charged with public violence. Two people were slightly injured.

DUT SRC president Mandla Shange described the confrontation between staff, students and police as “a very unbecoming situation” and said havoc broke out outside management offices while the SRC was trying to arrange a meeting between the parties.

DUT vice chancellor Professor Roy du Pré closed all DUT campuses until Monday for students and tomorrow for staff.

DUT staff went on strike on Monday after wage negotiations became deadlocked. Students are protesting at a lack of residences and unroadworthy transport.

At UKZN’s Westville campus, police arrested a student yesterday morning, bringing the number of students arrested there since Monday to six. Five appeared in court on charges of malicious damage to property and were released on bail, while the sixth was not charged.

Central SRC president Sandile Phakathi said students are protesting because of the poor state or residences on the campus and the lack of transport.

Since taxi services were suspended in 2006 during a taxi association conflict, students have had to walk three kilometres to get transport to the city centre. Although the univeristy apparently promised a shuttle service, nothing has been done, he said.

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