There have been scenes of absolute mayhem outside the Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) in Umlazi, Durban on Thursday, April 8, 2021, as students clashed with law enforcement officers.

The students have several grievances they want addressed, including financial exclusion and the scrapping of historical debt. Earlier, students, including members of the Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command (EFFSC), blockaded the main entrance to MUT and vowed to bring the institution to a standstill until their demands have been met.

Police members, armoured with bullet proof vests, resorted to using water cannons to try and disperse the students, who were chanting inside the MUT premises, however this did little to deter them. The police eventually wound up gaining entry and at least one student is believed to have been arrested.

MUT students had also blocked some of the main roads in Umlazi, affecting traffic flow in that area. By noon, a degree of calm had been restored to the area and just some of the students could even be seen leaving the institution’s grounds.

MUT management to meet over student demands

The MUT’s acting vice-chancellor, Dr Manyani Makua said management would meet to discuss how they will address the students’ demands.

“This afternoon, executive management will be meeting again to try to respond to almost all the issues that have been raised which are within our power to respond to and will be able to do that”

MUT’s acting vice-chancellor, Dr Manyani Makua

Makua further said much of the students’ grievances are related to funding.

“Most often the issues that students raise have to do with finance and you know it’s not a situation happening at this institutions only. Students continue to try to seek concessions in terms of what is due to them,” he said.

The students are also supporting MUT workers who have been on strike since Monday and are demanding an eight percent salary increase.

“There are clashes between students and police today but what the problem is there are those opportunistic parties who hijacked the struggle of workers for their own strike. It’s supposed to be a peaceful one. NEHAWU submitted the memorandum but the university must look into the matter, however, the workers just said enough is enough. They won’t keep working until their demands are met,” said MUT student leader Phiwayinkosi Ngobese.

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Presh JM Reporter

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