Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) student leaders at Durban University of Technology (DUT) are leading a protest through the city centre and have said they ‘will deal decisively’ with those trying to attend lectures as the academic programme resumes.
The march was set to start at 8am from DUT and end at the city hall on Monday, but EFF Student Command (EFFSC) leaders have also agreed to meet with the institution’s management at the same time.
The EFFSC and Student Representative Council (SRC) leader at DUT, Sesiyanda Godlimpi, said in a statement that they were “very dumbfounded” by a statement from DUT management saying classes would resume on Monday.
“We didn’t have a meeting where we agreed with the management that classes will resume, we only agreed on unblocking of students in two days time but they failed to do that. Their statement shows that the management is undermining the SRC,” said Godlimpi.
“We want to make it clear that we as the SRC led by EFFSC, we don’t agree on resuming of classes while issues of students are still outstanding. There is a student who lost his life for fighting for free education, hence the university wants to continue like nothing has happened. We want justice for Mlungisi Madonsela,” he said.
Twenty-year-old Madonsela was shot in an altercation with private security contracted to the institution at its Steve Biko campus two weeks ago. He later died in hospital.
The shooting took place as about 30 students – armed with bricks and rocks – tried to storm an administration building at the campus. A DUT staff member was also seriously injured. She was struck in the face with a brick – hurled by a student – and had to be hospitalised.
“We want to see killers in prison, we don’t want to see the [security] company called EXcellent at DUT. The institution must have their own securities not izinkabi to kill students, who demand what rightfully belongs to them,” said Godlimpi.
He said that lectures would not be allowed to resume while students battled with accommodation and funding.
“We will deal decisively with those who will be found in classes. We just want to make them aware that it won’t be business as usual at DUT. In conclusion, classes will not resume on Monday until all our demands are met.”
DUT said in a statement issued on Sunday that the decision to resume the academic programme on Monday “was on the basis of the SRC recommendation”.
The institution said it had to postpone a meeting scheduled for Sunday because only five SRC members arrived, “two of which were significantly late”.
Students at the Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT), were also staging protests outside the Umlazi-based campus on Monday and had started burning tyres in the roads.
*Cover photo by Doctor Ngcobo/ANA