WATCH | MUT protests: Staff demand salary increases, students want smoother registration process

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  • Police and students clashed at MUT on Thursday.
  • Students and staff have taken issue with regard to registration and annual increases.
  • Police used stun grenades, a water cannon and teargas to disperse students.

Students and staff members at the Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) in Umlazi, south of Durban, embarked on protest action on Thursday.

They are demanding higher salaries and an improved student registration process.

Hundreds of students gathered at the university entrance. They burnt books, trees and tyres in a bid to have their demands met.

Speaking on behalf of the staff, MUT's branch secretary for the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu), Linda Zama, said they were dealing with "arrogant management".

He said they called for a 12% increase across the board, with a fallback of 8%.

READ | Students clash with police as protests flare up at MUT

"We also said staff have been eligible for conversion for more than two years. January 2020 and 2021 it never happened. It is a council resolution that every employee on contract at MUT must be made permanent, provided they are here for more than two years.

Increase

"The housing allowance for MUT staff is R1 500 for more than five years. We are saying, let us increase it to R3 500. This amount is not carved in stone. We are expecting the university to come with their own amount.

"However, instead of saying, this is what we can afford, they never said anything. We are experiencing challenges from arrogant management."

Students lamented the apparent poor registration process, with SRC head Mthokosizi Gumede alleging that just 2 000 students were registered, and there were 9 000 more still waiting in the wings. 

LIST | Student protests: Here are students' demands

Gumede said classes, which were set to commence on Monday, would not be possible because there was no support staff and a low number of registered students.

Earlier in the day, police attempted to use a water cannon to disperse students, but they used mattresses as protection.

By midday, the area was calmer, with students retreating.

Management, staff and students have been locked in meetings since Tuesday when clashes began.

News24 reached out to the university's spokesperson, Bheki Hlophe, who did not immediately respond.

His comments will be added once received.

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