Protests close Durban varsity

Durban’s Mangosuthu University of Technology was officially closed down on Friday following a week of student protests.

A pamphlet distributed at the institution and signed by vice-chancellor and principal Aaron Ndlovu ordered all students to vacate the institution’s residences and leave the premises by noon.

“In light of the persisting disturbance caused by Sadesmo [South African Democratic Student Movement], the university management hereby gives notice that the university will be closed to students with effect from [midday] March 7 2008,” the notice said.

It said that any student found on the premises after then would be arrested and charged with trespassing.

The notice also said that all registrations that had taken place this year were cancelled and that all students “wishing to be admitted to this university will have to submit fresh applications”.

“The date for reopening the university will be announced at a later stage.”

A group of about 200 students sang and toyi-toyied outside the university entrance on Friday morning.

At least 125 students were arrested during protests at the institution on Thursday.

Police spokesperson Captain Kephu Ndlovu said on Friday the 125 had been released on warning and the case was postponed to May 15 in the Umlazi Magistrate’s Court.

They face charges of public violence and malicious damage to property.

The Sadesmo-led student representative council (SRC) had refused to negotiate with the management until those arrested were released.

SRC president Brian Masondo said on Friday he was “trying to sort something out”, but would not comment further.

The students are protesting against the dismissal of three SRC members, poor bus services and an apparent shortage of lecturers.

Several people were injured during Thursday’s protests, including Inkatha Freedom Party Youth Brigade leader Patricia Lebenya.—Sapa


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