DUT, UKZN students protest over NSFAS and accommodation

Student leaders said neighbouring institutions may join in if the impasse related to academic exclusion and poor accommodation was not resolved.

The Durban University of Technology. Picture: www.dut.ac.za

DURBAN - Students associated with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and African National Congress (ANC) student bodies have been protesting at two universities in KwaZulu-Natal over funding and accommodation issues.

Student leaders said neighbouring institutions may join in if the impasse related to academic exclusion and poor accommodation was not resolved.

On Monday, groups of students at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) and students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) held protests and disturbed classes. Thousands of students at the institutions had to turn back on their way to lecture halls after the protesting students threatened to shut down both universities.

Both student organisations have denied politicising student issues to retain their positions as governing organisations at the institutions in the upcoming Student Representative Council (SRC) elections.

Both UKZN and DUT responded by calling on the police and private security personnel. At DUT, EFF student command leader Buntu Faku was arrested.

But this had not deterred student leaders who were demanding urgent meetings with the management of both institutions over the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and accommodation issues.

UKZN SRC secretary-general Siyabonga Khumalo said university management failed to avail themselves to student leaders resulting in protests.

DUT EFF student command secretary Sandiso Buthelezi said they would continue the protests until their demands were met.

The institutions had issued statements promising to engage with student leaders.