One arrested after Durban university protests

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A damaged security guard hut at the Durban University of Technology. (File, Kaveel Singh, News24)
A damaged security guard hut at the Durban University of Technology. (File, Kaveel Singh, News24)

One person was arrested at the Durban University of Technology on Monday following violent protests that saw security personnel and students clash.

Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said around 150 students disrupted lectures from 08:00.

"Police had to use stun grenade and teargas to disperse the unruly crowd. There is a suspect believed to be in his twenties that was arrested. He will appear in court soon."

Around 150 students took to the Steve Biko main campus and made several demands including improved residences, the unblocking of students who have appealed to NSFAS for funding and improved safety and security.

University spokesperson Alan Khan said they were "extremely disappointed that the student protesters disrupted classes and intimidated non-protesting students and staff on some of its Durban campuses today".

"Whilst DUT respects the right to protest, the University urges the protesters to also respect the rights of non-protesting students and members of staff."

The university, through its Student Services Division, was engaging with the Student Representative Council (SRC) on a number of issues raised, Khan said.

"During a meeting between the SRC and the Dean of Students last Thursday, 18 July 2019, consensus was reached on a number of issues. This meeting also created a platform for constructive engagement between management and the SRC."

He said the Dean of Students also invited the SRC to a meeting on Monday afternoon to provide feedback "and to continue with discussions from their engagements last week".

"Despite the disruption today, the university management remains committed to achieving lasting solutions by pursuing consensus through constructive engagement with the SRC. The university apologises to all students and staff who were affected by the disruptions this morning."

Meanwhile at UKZN…

At the University of KwaZulu-Natal, a small group of students attempted to engage in protest action at its Howard College, also on Monday.

University spokesperson Indu Moodley said they would meet with students.

"Management will engage student leadership to address concerns raised by the students.  The university is committed to restoring stability on campus. Risk Management Services and SAPS are currently monitoring the situation."

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