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DUT shuts all five Durban campuses after registration chaos

DUT/ Sakhiseni Nxumalo
DUT/ Sakhiseni Nxumalo

By: Kaya 959 News

Management at the Durban University of Technology has shut down all five Durban-based campuses until further notice.

Yesterday, DUT announced that it was shutting down its campuses and called on relevant law enforcement agencies to assist in calming down what it deemed a “potentially dangerous” situation.

In a statement issued, DUT said it had become clear that the situation is tough to contain and it is being exacerbated with increasing numbers of people trying to force their way onto many other parts of the Durban campuses.

“This also poses a bigger threat for Covid-19 infections,” DUT said.

The announcement comes after throngs of potential students invaded the Sports Centre on the Steve Biko campus in Durban yesterday.

READ: Thousands of students rock up at DUT for registration

This comes after they reacted to a fake social media post inviting walk-ins to register at DUT.

The University maintains that it did not invite walk-ins to register on campus.

DUT said following the risk to health,, safety and security, the University suspended the on-campus support for online registration yesterday, indefinitely.

“However, normal online registration will continue in the manner it has been all along; but without on-campus support. Simply, the influx of uninvited people on campus continues to violate the Covid-19 protocols,” DUT said.

The University said overnight, a significant number of people continued to occupy the Sports Centre and refused the request to leave campus.

“Over the course of this morning, the situation escalated with protestors milling around outside the Steve Biko campus, hurling stones at buildings, damaging University property, barricading public roads, including several attempts to invade more buildings on campus,” DUT said.

In an earlier statement, DUT said it had been exploring strategies to deal with the challenge of the slow pace of registration of first time

entering (FTEN) students, for various reasons including their challenges with our online registrations system.

According to DUT, the number of returning students who have registered has been largely met and does not appear to be a problem at this stage.

It said as part of the strategies to deal with this slow challenge with FTEN registrations, the University decided to decentralise the on-campus registration support, in order to assist those applicants who were struggling to complete their online registration. Many of those who had required assistance with their online registration had either experienced internet access challenges at their homes or they had faced delays due to funding concerns. The on-campus support facilities were specifically implemented to assist this group of students, many of whom, were FTEN students.

“In an email last week, several strategies were shared about how the University would quicken the pace. One of the strategies was about enlisting professionalised call centre services, in addition to their own Faculty-based initiatives. Such a service would help to reach out to all

students with firm offers, students on waitlists and other qualifying students that could have approached them since registration started. Some call the latter group ‘walk-ins.’ As a result of this, the University had also decided to extend the registration period for FTEN applicants to 9 April 2021,” DUT said. However, fake posts surfaced on social media which led to thousands of prospective students flocking to the Steve Biko Campus.

Yesterday, students were taken into custody by police, following violent protests at the campus.

All online University functions and activities will continue. This means that online registration for first time entering (FTEN) students with firm offers will proceed as previously announced.

READ: What young people have to say about race and inequality in South Africa

Picture source: Sakhiseni Nxumalo

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