Students Stranded In Durban After MUT Shuts

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“I sent my kids to the university to study, and not come home in a coffin. After witnessing harsh treatment of students in one of the institutions, I had to come take mine home while they are still alive,” a father of Mangosuthu University of Technology students told the Daily Vox.

The apparently infuriated man is waiting outside the Berea Court residence in Durban for his son and daughter to come out. Vukile Msani* expresses his disappointment on the university management.

“We had recently brought these kids back to school and now we are receiving messages, informing us of the university’s decision to close the institution indefinitely, and that our children have been ordered to vacate,” he said.

Msani also said that students in one of the universities were being forcefully thrown out of residences.

“There were police throwing students out with their belongings. It wasn’t a pretty sight at all seeing people’s children being treated in that manner, at an institution of higher learning, that’s why I had to leave everything and come for my own kids,” he said.

MUT Students Force Campus Shutdown

On Tuesday, the university announced its decision to close the university until further notice. The decision follows weeks of protests at campuses across KwaZulu Natal, including MUT.

A communique by the vice chancellor and principal Dr Enoch Duma Malaza to the university staff and students stated that the closure of the university comes after violence that erupted at the main campus on Monday.

“Owing to the violent activities on campus and at the off-campus residences, management has consulted Council and Senate, and the resolution has been taken to shut down the university with immediate effect.

“Regrettably, all students must vacate campuses and residences by 16h00, today, 19 February 2019. No student will be allowed to remain on campus and therefore, they should remove all their belongings,” Malaza said.

Students lamented the decision, calling it “unrealistic and disrespectful”.

Godfrey Ndou, a 20 year old chemical engineering student from Limpopo said the move by the management was unfavourable to most students. Ndou comes from a family of five, and with both parents being unemployed, he says travelling home for him at such a short notice is impossible.

“It takes me approximately 24 hours to travel home and the expenses are costly. I’d have to have about R1,500 for return, but I know I wouldn’t even be able to put that money together. I don’t even have money to buy food here at [the student residence], so, going home is really out of question,” he said.

When the Daily Vox arrived at Berea Court, some students were already vacating, but, some vowed to “stay and face the music should the management use force to throw us out”.

Nosipho Sikhosana, a final year quantity surveying student from Mpumalanga said she was panicking of what might happen if the management kicks them out during late hours of the day.

“Home is miles away from here and I don’t even have any money on me. I’m sure even my mother and my grandmother don’t have any money since it’s not month end yet. So, I’d be stranded since I have no relatives this side. Being told to leave residence in the next couple of hours with all our belongings is unrealistic for many of us,” Sikhosana said.

Five students were arrested during an on-campus protest.  

Meanwhile, the Durban University of Technology said in a statement that classes at five of its campuses remain suspended after students marched to the Durban City Hall for slain student Mlungisi Madonsela.

Featured image by Lizeka Maduna

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