South African Students Congress

Statement on protests in DUT

26 January 2010

We unreservedly support the SASCO-led students protest in the Durban University of Technology. This shows that our structures have responded enthusiastically to our Right to learn campaign message that directs them to be vigilant and "protest" whenever necessary in order to defend students right to education.

We call on DUT management to stop using university funds to fund the lavish lifestyles of management by constantly increasing their salaries while institutional infrastructure such as residences remain in shambles. We condemn attempts by the DUT to acquire residences right at the door of a liquor store. Rather than result in the production of academics the location of student residences next to a bar would produce alcoholics.

The provision of adequate accommodation remains a central part of the process of teaching and learning and we applaud our structures for reminding the institution of its duties and refusing to be accommodated next to a bar. The acquisition of accommodation in alcohol-ridden areas and the lack of adequate accommodation for students in the DUT is one of the main causes of the institutions appalling throughput rate.

We also condemn the attempt by the DUT to exclude academically deserving students simply because they cannot afford fees. The "money talks and everything else walks" policy of the Durban University of Technology flies in the face of our country's developmental agenda. We also condemn the illegal increase of residence fees by 20% without the consent of student leaders.

Rather than engage with students, the DUT management responds to students by deploying police armed with nothing else but rubber bullets. This is nonsensical and irresponsible. We are extremely disappointed and angered by the firing of rubber bullets at students engaged in peaceful and orderly protests. This firing of rubber bullets at students has become a permanent feature of students' protests and it needs to stop

Since introduction of this new management in the Durban University of Technology under Roy Du Pre the institution has degenerated from bad to worse. All the institution excels is in purging and sidelining progressive academics. We appeal to the Minister of Higher Education and Training (Dr. Blade Nzimande) to intervene and stop this madness that has engulfed the DUT.

For information contact:

Mbulelo Mandlana (President)
071 879 3408
Lazola Ndamase (Secretary General)
082 679 8718