South Africa: Students Arrested After Attack On Security Guard

19 September 2019

Guard escapes through a window after petrol bomb thrown into guardroom at Durban University of Technology

A security guard at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) narrowly escaped death on Wednesday when protesting students threw a petrol bomb into his office.

According to a source in the security company, the students had come from one of the residences chanting struggle songs and carrying sticks and stones.

The students want security improved after a student was attacked in a lecture room.

The source said their controller had told guards at the gates to get inside and lock the gates. The students had stopped at a gate and thrown a petrol bomb into the guard room.

"The security guard who was inside the room had to escape by means of a back window after he realised students were attacking and his life was in danger," said the source.

He said other guards, seeing the flames, had rushed to help and police had been called. The police station is about 100 metres away.

Economic Freedom Fighters leader at DUT, Jimmy Nkambinde, said the students' anger had been triggered by the attack on a student in a lecture room on 9 September.

"A first year Industrial Engineering student, Sandile Ndlovu, was attacked by unknown men who stormed into a lecture room he was studying in. They seriously injured him before they got away with his laptop and cellphone."

"We are not safe inside the institution, yet there is a security company given a contract to guard us 24 hours a day," said Nkambule.

He said students wanted the security guards to be employed by the university and better paid.

DUT spokesperson Alan Khan said management condemned the criminal behaviour including the use of petrol bombs. "The university advises the Student Representative Council and the protesting students to act within the confines of the law and to please respect the rights of students who want to study and to not intimidate the staff who want to teach," said Khan.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala confirmed that nine students were arrested during a protest outside Steve Biko Campus.

"A maintenance room and two security guard houses were set alight. A 27-year-old security guard ... who was inside one of the security guard rooms was rescued by his colleagues who witnessed the attack. He sustained severe injuries and was conveyed to hospital for medical attention," said Gwala.

The arrested students would be charged with attempted murder, malicious damage to property and public violence.

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