Students shut down university over safety measures

2019-09-25 06:01

DURBAN University of Technology (DUT) students in Pietermaritzburg have vowed that they will not go back to class until their safety is guaranteed.

The students shut down Indumiso and Riverside campuses on Monday and Tuesday demanding that management takes measures to ensure that students are safe on campus and within the student residence, located on and off university property, which is provided by DUT.

The shut down comes after a student from Steve Biko Campus in Durban Sandile Ndlovu was stabbed in the head while studying in a lecture hall on campus, and is in now in hospital.

Nhlakanipho Sithole, Student Representative Council (SRC) secretary general, told Echo that they decided to close campuses due to concerns surrounding their safety.

He said after they were told that surveillance cameras were not working when Ndlovu was stabbed, they decided to take action to express their dissatisfaction over safety measures currently on campuses.

“This is not the first incident and still, management has not acted. Last week a a male student was stabbed while trying to save a girl from robbers inside the residence,” he said.

The Bulwer Street residence is located in the CBD and is outsourced by DUT in Pietermaritzburg.

“The student is fighting for his life is hospital. The robbers gained entrance to the residence because there is no security — anyone can just come in. We are not safe both on campus and [at] residence.

“We will not go back to classes until we know that we are safe.

“Management told us that they are going to install cameras on campus but that still does not guarantee our safety,” he said.

Sithole said in most of the outsourced residences there are no security guards who monitor whether people entering the property are students or not.

“Management is undermining us and doesn’t care about our safety. With all the incidents that have taken place... they are doing nothing. They just sweep everything under the carpet like it never happend.

“We a re more concerned about the female residences with all the incidents of them being raped and killed. If anyone can just enter without any questions being asked, that is a problem.

“We want campuses and residences to be monitored 24 hours a day and no one must gain entrance without providing proof that they are a student,” he said.

DUT spokesperson Alan Khan confirmed that the lectures were indeed suspended on Monday and Tuesday following a student protest which erupted last Friday.

He said management was busy engaging with the SRC in order to seek a collective solution to the concerns that they have raised.

“The university has been working on a major security upgrade for a while. Funds have been allocated and the university will be investing in technology to help improve areas that include access control, monitoring and response.

“A tender process for a campus security services provider is also close to completion and these interventions will help to further improve safety and security on campus,” he said.

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