WATCH | Five stabbed in clashes between EFF and Sasco at Durban University of Technology
Five students were stabbed during violent clashes allegedly between members of the EFF student command (SC) and the South African Students Congress (Sasco) at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) on Tuesday morning.
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Capt Nqobile Gwala said the students were stabbed during an altercation at Durban’s Berea campus.
“They were taken to a campus clinic for medical attention. Police are at the scene to monitor and stabilise the situation, which is quiet at the moment. No case was opened [but] victims were advised to open cases,” Gwala said.
Speaking to TimesLIVE on Tuesday, Sasco head Malwande Ndobe said the clash followed threats reported by their members on Friday.
“Comrades reported they were threatened on Friday not to go ahead with our annual right to learn campaign where we assist first-year students with access to funding, study spaces and other things. However, we understand the EFF comrades were not planning to do this and didn’t want our comrades to go ahead.
“When our comrades set up their tables on Tuesday morning, they were confronted by the EFF students who started attacking them.”
Ndobe said one of their members was trampled and his arm broken while another was critically injured.
“You will see from the video they were throwing boulders and males were attacking our female comrades. Who does this when we are busy fighting a gender-based violence war?”
He said they were in the process of laying criminal charges.
However, EFF SC DUT secretary Sandiso Buthelezi claimed the fight was sparked by “thugs” who were opposed to their student body exposing criminal opportunism.
“We have reported to DUT management that there have been several incidents where vulnerable students have been victims of cybercrime and opportunism in which they have been made to pay for services that have turned out to be a scam.
“These are deeply rural students who don’t know anything about how the campus operates or about Durban, especially during this time when everything is online.
“In addition to that, we have an issue with the management and [higher education minister] Blade Nzimande with regard to our students who haven’t been able to access funding, as well as students who failed last year because they didn’t have laptops and data. We are determined to have these students registered this year.
“This morning, two of our members were attacked and stabbed by these thugs — some criminal elements which we pointed out to the police. Our fight is not with the student body, but with management who aren’t doing anything to protect our students.”
Buthelezi said his members would bring criminal charges once they were discharged.
DUT vice-chancellor Prof Thandwa Mthembu condemned the violence.
While this behaviour constitutes a flagrant violation of Covid-19 related legislation, it also poses a great risk of DUT becoming a super-spreader of Covid-19.Prof Thandwa Mthembu
“I learned and saw unsightly video clips earlier today showing a street brawl between groups of students, presumably affiliated with Sasco and EFF SC. This apparently happened along Steve Biko Road in Durban, a thoroughfare that separates our Steve Biko and Ritson campuses.
“I have communicated repeatedly that a university is a place of calm and peace, facts and evidence, reason and logic and deliberation. It is very unbecoming of a university student to recoil into the most primitive ways of settling disagreements: fisticuffs, sjamboking, hurling of bricks and stones and so forth.”
He said management would take “drastic disciplinary measures against all of those who will be identifiable and/or reported to have been involved in this brawl”.
Mthembu said the behaviour didn’t belong in a university and he urged the offenders to stop the “despicable and errant behaviour”.
“Worst of all, the gatherings that led to the brawl consisted of people who were not wearing their masks and keeping their physical distance. While this behaviour constitutes a flagrant violation of Covid-19 related legislation, it also poses a great risk of DUT becoming a super-spreader of Covid-19.
“Management and, I should think, law enforcement agencies, are clearly being forced to consider all means – legal and otherwise - to stop this degeneration of the university into a cauldron of mayhem. More pronouncements will be made to nip these dastardly deeds in the bud.”
DUT didn’t immediately respond to the claims by the EFF SC.