DUT classes suspended

2016-02-24 06:00
PHOTO: Ian Carbutt DUT PMB SRC secretary-general Sandile Nene and acting           president Yoliswa Manele holding the memorandum that was submitted to DUT management this week.

PHOTO: Ian Carbutt DUT PMB SRC secretary-general Sandile Nene and acting president Yoliswa Manele holding the memorandum that was submitted to DUT management this week.

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BARELY two weeks into this year’s academic programme, classes were suspended for the second time at the Durban University of Technology this week after students at the Midlands campuses protested over issues related to students’ funding.

According to acting SRC president Yoliswa Manele, about 500 students at Midlands campuses faced exclusion.

Manele accused DUT of deliberately delaying the process of unblocking students who met National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) requirements but had not secured funding.

“Government and university heads made an announcement that all those who meet the NSFAS requirements should be allowed [to register],” she said.

SRC secretary-general Sandile Nene said other students faced a different dilemma after their NSFAS funding was withdrawn.

“They could not sign their loan agreements because there were glitches in the NSFAS system. It is not like they did not want to [sign the agreements],” he said.

Manele said they had not received their meal allowances since students returned to campus, and also complained of the high prices at the campus’s cafeteria. Nene said they had given the university 48 hours to respond to their demands.

DUT spokesperson Alan Khan said the management had suspended the academic programme for a further two days.

“We apologise for this second break in the academic calendar. However, we feel that this 48-hour suspension will give us a chance to further respond to the issues raised by the SRC in Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

“We have agreed, in consultation with the SRC, to continue with the student registration process and to keep the finance and financial aid offices open to assist our students.

“The university is not closing. Our administration and support services will be operational. The academic programme resumed today, 18 February,” he said.

DUT has sent condolences to the family of Lindelani Myeza, who apparently committed suicide after receiving an SMS advising him that he did not qualify for student funding.

Myeza, who lived at the Persada Residence on the Berea in Durban, fell to his death from the sixth floor of the building.

A first-year student in the university’s Management Sciences Faculty, he entered residence last Tuesday.

“The university is assisting his family at this difficult time. The police have launched an investigation into the matter,” said Khan. — WR.

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