Rubber bullets fired during DUT workers' strike

2018-01-29 18:00
Striking DUT staff burn incense in front of the university's Vice Chancellor's office. (Mxolisi Mngadi, News24)

Striking DUT staff burn incense in front of the university's Vice Chancellor's office. (Mxolisi Mngadi, News24)

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Durban – Striking Durban University of Technology (DUT) staff members who belong to various unions were met with rubber bullets on Monday when they attempted to disrupt registration processes on campus.
Yamkela Zamisa, South African Students' Congress spokesperson at DUT, said security forces fired rubber bullets at around 10:30.

"The workers went there to disrupt at the registration venue and the security made them disperse by releasing rubber bullets," she said. 
Speaking on behalf of the National Health Education and Allied Workers Union, spokesperson Milton Estrice said the firing of rubber bullets was to be expected.

"This is the third week of the strike and you can expect incidents here and there because of the duration of the strike."

He added that no one sustained injuries at the scene. 

Management 'silent'

The strike action, which commenced on Monday, January 15, is part of an ongoing salary dispute between DUT staff and university management.

DUT had not yet responded to a request for comment on the dispute at the time of publishing.

Estrice claimed that attempts to negotiate with university management on Monday yielded minimal results.

"We are still on strike [and] it has been very silent on management's [side].

"Tomorrow, we will be marching through the streets to let the public know what is going on."
Insert Video: Security forces fire rubber bullets at the registration venue to disperse striking workers. (Yamkela Zamisa).

Students 'traumatised'
Due to the strike action, first-year students and returning students were unable to register for courses and accommodation, said Zamisa.

"We have students who don't have a residence to stay at, they have to look for temporary accommodation, and the lines are just ridiculously long," she said.
Zamisa added that many students were upset by the queuing and strike action.

"Everything is upside down here at DUT and nothing is constructive," she said. "Potential students of DUT are being traumatised by the strike because of the gunshots and things are really bad."

Read more on:    dut  |  durban  |  protests

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