Students march in solidarity with striking DUT workers

Durban – Striking staff at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) received a boost of support on Tuesday after a group of students marched in solidarity with them to their vice-chancellor's office.

"As the student community of DUT we stand with the workers in their demand for salary increases in our institution. This is informed by our ideological relationship of student/worker alliance and because we treat workers as our own parents," EFF leader at DUT, Bonginkosi "Education" Khanyile said.

Khanyile and his supporters received a roaring welcome from staff at the university who gathered at Curries Fountain. From there they marched on vice-chancellor Professor Thandwa Mthembu's office.

There, a closed meeting between unions, Higher Education Deputy Minister Buti Manamela and management will take place.

The outcomes of the meeting are expected to be announced after 13:00. Staff have been on strike for seven weeks with no academic activity taking place.

They have demanded salary increases and have criticised Mthembu's management style.

'Who does he think he is?'

Staff had over half of their salaries docked due to their long-drawn-out strike action.

One staff member who did not want to be named told News24 that management was being "totally unfair".

"Who does he (Mthembu) think he is? We have been here for years and our demands are reasonable. We work hard and we follow instructions very concisely. He is being a dictator and we won't stand for it."

Khanyile said that the EFF sympathised with striking staff members and the party's national leadership also indicated support for their cause.

"We have said that if they do not get what they want today, our commander-in-chief Julius Malema will come here. We have our people on standby."

Khanyile said that students also joined the protest to call for the immediate commencement of the academic programme.

"The protest will put immense pressure to complete the syllabus. We are appealing to management to think about all those students who will miss the opportunities of bettering their lives."

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