DUT peacefully protests over student allowance delay

2018-04-11 16:15
Durban University of Technology’s Indumiso Campus in Edendale saw frustrated students block the entrance to the main gate on Tuesday morning.

Durban University of Technology’s Indumiso Campus in Edendale saw frustrated students block the entrance to the main gate on Tuesday morning. (Nhlanhla Nkosi)

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Frustrated students at the Indumiso campus of the Durban University of Technology blocked the entrance to the campus on Tuesday following an ongoing dispute about student allowances.

The students, who started protesting early on Tuesday at the main entrance of the campus, said that the  “the poorest of the poor” of them have been left to “suffer”.

A single police car monitored the peaceful protesters dancing and singing in a circle, from the opposite side of the road, while a private security company stood to the side, keeping an eye on the students.

DUT SRC deputy president Siphiwe Vilakazi said they had been in discussions with the institution since February about raising allowances for National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) students.

He said students were getting R1 000 a month for food and R2 000 for text books.

“We met with NSFAS and asked why our allowances have not increased like they have at other institutions  and we were told by them to address with DUT,” said Vilakazi.

He said there were meetings with the finance office and the dean of students in February, where both parties allegedly agreed on R1 600 a month for food and R7 000 for textbooks.

“They told us in February we would receive the increase in March. In March, they told us the increase would come in April, but this month came and there was still no increase.

“Students have to attend classes and write tests hungry and female students are missing classes because they are unable to buy sanitary pads.

“We cannot allow this to continue. We cannot allow our students to go hungry,” he said.

First year student and NSFAS beneficiary Njabulo Kalushi Ntshoba said he was supposed to receive accommodation, meal and textbook allowances, but had received nothing.

“It is going to be a struggle to get through the year. I still have no accommodation. I am squatting.

“We are told we need to complete our qualifications so we can go out into the world and uplift our society, but how can we when this is happening?”

DUT spokesperson Nduduzo Ndlovu said the university “is concerned about the student protests that took place ... in Durban and [at] the Midlands campuses”.

“Students were protesting to voice their unhappiness, as some have not received their NSFAS allowances for meals and books.

“There was reported damage to university property caused by the protesting students.

“Four students sustained injuries during an altercation between students and police and the injured students were transported to hospital to receive medical attention,” said Ndlovu.

“DUT has met with the SRC and a team from NSFAS has been working closely with the university to resolve issues related to the NSFAS allowances.

“Progress has been made over the last two weeks and we are confident that all NSFAS allowances will be distributed to all qualifying students at DUT.

“DUT sincerely apologises to the staff and students who were affected by the disruptions,” said Ndlovu.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said that the protest had been non-violent, police were monitoring and the situation was under control.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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