Student protest costs university R2 million in damages

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Mangosuthu University of Technology. Photo: @MUTcampus via Twitter
Mangosuthu University of Technology. Photo: @MUTcampus via Twitter

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The Mangosuthu University of Technology has blamed “hired hands” for the student protest that took place at the institution on Thursday, costing it R2 million in damages.

The protest led to the university halting its operations, forcing it to move its planned examinations that were already under way.

READ: Mangosuthu University of Technology to get vice-chancellor by September, Parliament told

Last week, the university announced that it had cancelled all its activities following the violent protest where about 30 students, whose faces were masked, allegedly pelted security personnel stationed at the main entrance of the campus with stones.

The group allegedly torched a guardhouse with security guards inside, who managed to escape. The protesters also burnt two university cars, fridges, mobile toilets and the examination office while they pelted senate chambers with stones.

In a statement on Monday, the university estimated the damage to the university’s infrastructure to be about R2 million, “excluding the cost [of] moving examinations and re-adjusting the academic year”.

“The four [students involved in the protest and appeared in court on Monday] are part of what the university has alleged to be a group of “hired hands”, who were acting as part of a bigger plan to capture and control student representative councils in TVET colleges and universities in the province. Two of these students are from the University of Zululand, one is from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and another is from the University of South Africa.”

READ: MUT: Report details a University divided

Acting vice-chancellor Professor Marcus Ramogale said he was discouraged by the lack of care for the rule by those involved in the destruction:

No amount of political or social motive can justify the destruction to the university property and endangering lives. We are confident that justice will be served to also send out a message that there is no place for acts of criminality during a protest.

Meanwhile, Vaal University of Technology (VUT) had also announced that it would not have a “formal recess period” following the disruption at that campus early this month.

VUT also suspended all academic activities indefinitely and students residing on campus were asked to vacate their rooms.

Students at VUT also allegedly torched a guardhouse during their protest.

READ: New broom sweeps through VUT

VUT vice-chancellor Professor Dan Kgwadi said at the time that there would be an internal investigation and that a “stern disciplinary action” would be taken.

In a recent statement, the university said because of the disruption, which had affected academic activities, assessments and reassessments would only be concluded on July 2.

“As a result of the disruptions, there will not be a formal recess period. For each faculty/department, recess will commence after the completion of assessment processes.”

The statement added that the university discussed with heads of faculties to complete the academic activities speedily.


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Bongekile Macupe  

Senior Education Journalist

+27 11 713 9001
Bongekile.macupe@citypress.co.za
www.citypress.co.za
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park
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