MUT management vows to act decisively against disruptive student protests

On Thursday, a small group of students staged demonstrations over registration and funding issues, which they claim have been raised since February.

Students blocked the entrance to the Mangosuthu University of Technology during a protest led by the EFF Student Command over registration and funding on Thursday, 8 April 2021. Picture: Nkosikhona Duma/Eyewitness News.

DURBAN - Management at the Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) has vowed to act decisively against disruptive protests at the Umlazi-based institution.

On Thursday, a small group of students staged demonstrations over registration and funding issues, which they claim had been raised since February.

The protests intensified when the aggrieved students allegedly burnt tyres and debris in front of the university's main entrance as well as caused major traffic congestion when they blockaded the busy Mangosuthu Highway.

The student demonstrations coincide with an ongoing strike by staff members over salary issues.

Acting deputy vice-chancellor at MUT Manyani Makuwa said they wanted to restore order at the institution.

“I have observed that they have been engaging with the police back and forth and that is not good, because as long as they are on campus, that endangers the property of the university, it endangers the lives of students and staff who are legitimately here. So, that is what I mean when I say we have to deal with it decisively because we need to avoid the possibility of this getting out of hand.”

Meanwhile, SRC president Mthokozisi Gumede said they would continue with their demonstrations until the university addressed their issues.

Gumede claimed the university had so far been able to register about 2,000 out of a total of 13,000 students.

He said their actions were in responses to the heavy-handedness of the police deployed at the institution.

“When the police shot at us, the only way was for student to defend themselves with what they have and that’s tyres and stones.”

Gumede said the institution failed to address issues that had been raised since February.

“Contradictory to the statement that was made by the Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande, saying academic records, qualifications and completion letters must be released for students who have already graduated regardless of how much they owe the institution, that’s not happening at MUT.”

At least one student was arrested during Thursday’s protests.

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