DURBAN - VIOLENT clashes between students, police and private security erupted at the University of KwaZulu-Natal on Friday. The university’s Westville campus was littered with protesting students, police and private security who appeared to be armed with paintball guns.
Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said a group of about 400 students gathered at the campus to blockade access roads with furniture.
"They blockaded the access roads within the campus with furniture and threw the bottles at police officers. They damaged the university furniture, doors and also set alight two guard houses," said Gwala.
Teargas and water cannons were used to disperse the crowd. Gwala said the 12 students arrested would appear at the Pinetown Magistrates Court next week, while police were still monitoring the situation at the campus.
The university announced earlier this week that the campus would be shut down for the week to allow student leaders through the SRC and management to negotiate.
Chief among the students grievances are poor living conditions at the residences, transport timetables, issues with the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, academic exclusion and poor WiFi speeds.
Acting UKZN spokesperson Normah Zondo told the Daily News on Thursday: “The university management has responded to the memorandum that was submitted by the student representative council and made a commitment to resolve matters regarding maintenance of amenities in certain student residences, eg. problems with wi-fi connection, matters of academic exclusion, the shuttle services’ timetable and NSFAS administration,” Zondo said.
The Daily News reported about the students poor living conditions where some students said they felt victimised by university staff when they complained about their living conditions. One student said they were mocked for coming from impoverished areas.
* IOL has sought comment from the university regarding Friday's clashes at Westville campus.Meanwhile on social media, students continued to ventilate their anger.
I think the most absurd thing is that we all pay the same price for residences when the conditions are so different. Some people are living in comfortable spaces and some in glorified slums yet we're all paying the same amount? Baffles me. #kwazekwanzima @UKZN— Bleh. (@uTeePee) August 17, 2018