Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Frustrated Durban University of Technology (DUT) students demanded on Wednesday that the institution resume its academic programme.

Controversial Fees Must Fall activist Bonginkosi Khanyile told TimesLive that he and other student leaders had "mobilised" students to voice their concern over the indefinite suspension of lectures. "All students have united to tell management that we want to start lectures."

On Friday more than 21,000 students learnt they would have to sit at home because the academic programme had been put on hold indefinitely‚ following a six-week impasse over proposed staff salary increases for 2018.

Management is offering a 6.5% increase in basic salary and a 6.5% housing allowance‚ without a once-off bonus. But unions are demanding an 8% increase and a R350 increase in the housing allowance. Staff vented their anger on Tuesday after learning that their February salaries had been slashed due to the no work no pay policy.

The university said in a statement that it had warned staff that it would implement a "no work‚ no pay" policy before the start of a marathon strike.

Khanyile‚ who led Fees Must Fall protests‚ was arrested for being part of protests at DUT two years ago.

He was denied bail on several occasions and was released only after taking the matter to the Constitutional Court in March last year.

"We are demanding that lectures resume because students are being disadvantaged. We were supposed to have begun with our academic calendar weeks ago.

"It is not acceptable. They must open the libraries because the postgraduate students can’t commence with their research.

"It is management’s responsibility to sort out this crisis‚ because the students are suffering here. We want this salary issue to be sorted out immediately so that we can go back to class‚" said Khanyile‚ who is enrolled to do his postgraduate studies this year.

Khanyile graduated with a national diploma in public management and economics summa cum laude‚ despite spending six months in jail.