Cars damaged, 26 UKZN students held

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Copy of ND UKZN5 (40166614) (40176646) INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Police arrest a member of the University of KwaZulu-Natal students representative council at the Umbilo police station. Picture: Puri Devjee

Durban - Police arrested 26 students after police vehicles were stoned and staff cars damaged at the University of Kwa-Zulu-Natal’s Howard College on Thursday.

According to the institution, 600 students at Howard College and 100 at the medical school protested over plans to evict returning students who had failed certain subjects and not qualified for subsidies.

Protesters were demanding financial aid.

UKZN spokesman, Lesiba Seshoka, said students who were not registered by 5pm today would be ordered to leave.

“If a person is not registered, they don’t qualify to be students. Obviously you don’t expect everyone to have money to register,” said Seshoka.

“Those unfortunate will have to try to register in the second semester if their course allows them. But if it doesn’t they will have to come back next year,” he said.

A students’ representative council (SRC) member, who declined to be named, said the university had failed to notify students that those who did not pass last year would lose their subsidies.

But Seshoka said students knew all along that if they failed they would lose their subsidies.

The university said lectures and operations were disrupted on Thursday but teaching had continued at the medical school.

Seshoka said police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesting students.

“Report from Risk Management Services indicate that two police vehicles were stoned and staff cars were damaged during the protests at Howard College campus,” said Seshoka.

Seshoka reminded students that a high court order had been obtained prohibiting mass action and unlawful protests at the university.

KZN police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, confirmed that 26 students had been arrested and charged with public violence.

Protesters tried to prevent a police truck, which was taking the arrested students to the Umbilo Police Station, from leaving the campus by putting rocks in the road.

About 150 students marched to the police station to protest about the arrests.

Police used a water cannon to disperse students at the police station.

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