The Durban University of Technology Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Thandwa Mthembu held a media briefing to address allegations made by the Student Representative Council.
The media engagement between the University management and Journalists took place yesterday afternoon (Wednesday, 25 September 2019) at the Vice-Chancellor’s Boardroom in Milena Court. Accompanying Prof Mthembu was the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: People and Operations, Dr Isaac Machi and the Registrar: Dr Thiru Pillay.
In their (Prof Mthembu, Dr Machi and Dr Pillay) engagement with members of the media, they addressed the various false claims by the SRC that have been made in numerous platforms such as social media, publicly and through the media following the tragic violent incident that ultimately claimed the life of the 18-year Sandile Ndlovu who was brutally stabbed in a lecture room on campus two weeks ago.
In his opening statement, Prof Mthembu emphasised that the DUT Executive Management, in their capacity never envisaged that the passing of Mr Ndlovu would be used for driving diatribes against Management and Council within the University.
In his comprehensive address on the CCTV footage of the incident that led to the loss of Ndlovu’s passing, Prof Mthembu said even though there is no CCTV recording of the actual attack in the lecture room on Mr Ndlovu, due to maintenance on certain camera’s at the time, the University has provided the police with footage from other cameras within the vicinity showing Sandile and other students around the area of the incident that took place that evening.
“The University has provided valuable information towards the investigation and management continues to search for more ways to assist the SAPS in their investigation. Based on information gathered in the interim, the prime suspect could only be our fellow students,” said Prof Mthembu.
He further revealed more on the issue of the CCTV footage on the incident related to the death of Mr Mlungisi Madonsela, he added that the CCTV footage was handed over to the police as it formed part of the police investigation and the subsequent handling of the case was the jurisdiction of the police and the National Prosecuting Authority.
Prof Mthembu also outlined the process in place on bringing forth a new security company, he said the University had made it clear that there is a prescribed procurement process that needs to be followed in appointing a new security service provider which is expected to be appointed on 1 November 2019.
He further emphasised the importance of safety at the University, adding that in June 2019, DUT’s Council had approved a sum of R30 million in terms of funding for security upgrades and the introduction of security-related technology which will strengthen security measures on all seven campuses in Durban and Pietermaritzburg.
“It is tragic that violence and criminal activity are happening on campus and at residences. The University is committed towards further improvement to the safety and security of all students and staff at DUT and as management, we have instituted a security assessment of the entire University which resulted in the process in place to ensure safety at the University,” he said.
Prof Mthembu denied allegations that management has corrupt relations with Xcellent Security, He said the University denies these allegations as similar allegations were made in the previous year through the University whistleblowing system which led to an investigation that found these claims to be untrue.
He added that undeniably Xcellent Security came on board through an urgent procurement procedure after the abrupt termination of the previous security company but no member of the Executive Management nor Council have had a link to Xcellent Security.
Furthermore, the nine students who were arrested for allegedly assaulting and attempting to set a security guard on fire have all been put on precautionary suspension by the University and disciplinary measure will also be taken internally. “Any person caught violating the University’s code and rules will be subject to the same disciplinary process irrespectively,” said Prof Mthembu.
Pictured: Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Thandwa Mthembu engaging with members of the media.