The Democratic Alliance Students’ organisation (DASO) in KwaZulu-Natal is deeply concerned by the violent protest that took place yesterday which was allegedly being led by the EFF at the Durban University of Technology (DUT).
We call on the South African Police Service (SAPS) to urgently assist campus security to ensure that student protestors do not impede the access of students to campus or disrupt their ability to partake in assessments and exams.
Violence cannot be used as a tool to resolve issues on campuses.
We are in possession of several Facebook posts and a WhatsApp voice note which we reliably learnt was being circulated by DUT EFF-led SRC members, warning that a night vigil would be held on Tuesday until the early hours of yesterday where EFF protesters would be preventing students from entering campus. This resulted in a violent protest yesterday.
We condemn this protest in which the university’s property was damaged and a security guard was almost set alight by the protesting students.
There are rules to adhere to when protesting, we cannot resort to violence every time we are faced with a predicament.
This is especially concerning as students are being prevented from attending campus during a period of exams and assessments. This form of terrorization cannot be allowed to go on unabated – every student has a right to access their campus and continue with learning.
DASO is willing to work peacefully towards finding solutions to campus violence that does not include the terrorization and intimidation of students whose only desire is to receive an education.
An urgent collaborative effort also needs to be implemented between campus security and SAPS to also ensure visible policing. This will go a long way in ensuring that students feel safer on campus.
Campuses should not be war zones. As DASO we will fight to rid our institutions of higher learning from all forms of violence.