Six more students are facing suspension for alleged verbal and physical attacks against staff members. This comes a week after the student representative council president Sesiyanda Godlimpi was suspended on the same charges.
The Durban University of Technology (DUT) suspended six students on a provisional basis pending a hearing, following a verbal and physical confrontation between students and staff members in May. On June 7, the Daily Vox reported on student representative council (SRC) president Sesiyanda Godlimpi’s precautionary suspension; after he had been found to have contravened the university’s code of conduct.
“A total of six students have been suspended for contravening the student code of conduct as per university policy and procedure. These students are to appear before a disciplinary committee in due course where a determination of a sanction would be made based on incriminating evidence available for prosecutorial process,” the DUT dean of students Dr Maditsane Nkonoane told the Daily Vox.
“As in any of similar processes, the students will be afforded an opportunity to plead their innocence/guilt and depending on any aggravating and extenuating circumstances on the balance of probabilities and beyond a reasonable doubt, a final determination will be made without fear, favour or prejudice,”
According to the suspended top six, their suspension is a result of their call to have all late students registered in May,” she continued.
Zabelo Ntuli, an active member of Economic Freedom Fighters student command (EFFsc) said their transgression was fighting for other students’ right to education.
“After months of attending classes without registering, the students had to register at some point so that they could write exam. We decided to take this up with the management, pleading with them to register students using the SRC’s budget but there were differences. We then went robust and demanded the plan to be initiated and only to be slapped with precautionary suspension letters,” he said.
Previously, SRC had told the Daily Vox that management couldn’t agree to its proposal of registering students using its financial resources for later reimbursement by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
However, the institution has refuted this statement, saying an agreement was reached between the two parties.
“As per the Management-SRC Agreement signed in February to ensure smooth commencement of lectures after a three week student strike, it was agreed that students awaiting appeals outcomes from NSFAS could attend lectures and participate in Assessment activities. These students would also be housed temporarily at the DUT owned residence, Baltimore.
“Later on NSFAS devolved the responsibility of appeals screening and recommendations to universities who were required to set up ad hoc appeals committees with NSFAS as a final arbiter. As soon as final outcomes were received from NSFAS students were then allowed to register. The last cohort of late registrations were for students whose appeals were not successful and the SRC demanded that such students be assisted through the SRC Contingency Fund, and this was acceded to,” Nkonoane said.
Meanwhile Godimpi remains suspended, and his hearing date has not yet been set.
Nombuso Mbatha, who faces suspension on grounds of alleged verbal and physical attack on a DUT staffer says she’s innocent.
“After being served with a letter I had to appeal because I’ve done nothing wrong. There is no proof of any wrongdoing from my side, so our legal team has advised that we appeal to the management and if all fails, we’ll have to challenge them in court,” Mbatha said.
A NSFAS spokesperson said: “NSFAS does not disburse allowances to DUT students, the institution is responsible for that.”
On the issue of unregistered students due to its alleged delays, NSFAS redirected us to the institution for a comment.