The student representative council (SRC) at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) has condemned the institution for not being able to provide video footage whenever there is a death on its campuses.
The SRC was on Monday responding to the recent death of first-year industrial engineering student Sandile Ndlovu, 18. Ndlovu was stabbed in the head while in a lecture room on the Steve Biko campus on September 9. He succumbed to his injuries on September 21. He had been in hospital since the stabbing took place.
Ndlovu’s family has said that the university told them that there was no video footage of the incident. SRC president Thamsanqa Memela blamed the university for not being able to provide footage of deadly incidents that recently took place at the university. He said DUT management also failed to provide CCTV footage when another student Mlungisi Madonsela was shot and killed earlier this year, allegedly by security guards.
“What is ironic about all these incidents is that no one saw anything. The (CCTV) cameras of the university are not working when someone is murdered during daylight. Yet when the university wants to persecute and suspend student activists, footage is produced as evidence to suspend.”
All they were demanding was nothing but justice for Sandile, Mlungisi and others affected, he said. Memela said more than 30 students had been suspended since they began their call for justice for all those who have died recently. They took issue with the current security company at the university and the leadership of Vice Chancellor Thandwa Mthembu. He blamed university leadership for failing to protect students while on campus.
“DUT remains a crime scene. Students are robbed and killed within what is supposed to be a safe environment to produce ideas which will ultimately bring solutions into our troubled country,” he said. Memela also blamed police for failing to protect students.
“The police are less interested in our call for justice. Instead they come here not to investigate crime and protect us, they are forever here to arrest us. Even when we are demonstrating peacefully for our brothers who have died at the hands of authority, we are forever met with violence from both police and the university,” he said.
Ndlovu died a heroic death, he said. He said the SRC had called for the immediate termination of the contract between the university and the security company, “due to the fact that the security company has failed to ensure student safety in this university”.
News24 previously reported that the university had said it was in contact with the authorities and Ndlovu’s family, trying to answer all queries. Regarding the suspension of the head of security, DUT said it was an internal matter and that it could not comment at that stage, spokesperson Alan Khan said last week.
“The reality is that the entire university community is angered by this violent attack on Mr Sandile Ndlovu. We are praying for Sandile and his family,” Khan said. KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane said a case of murder had been opened at the Berea police station after Ndlovu was stabbed by “an unknown man”.
“No one has been arrested at this stage,” he said on Monday.