A trashed road leading to the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Westville campus this week.      Doctor Ngcobo African News Agency (ANA)
A trashed road leading to the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Westville campus this week. Doctor Ngcobo African News Agency (ANA)

Anger grows towards rampaging UKZN students

By Mphathi Nxumalo Time of article published Feb 21, 2020

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Durban - EXPERTS and former students have asked the University of KwaZulu-Natal to come down hard on students who are wreaking havoc at the institution.

The calls were made after a video of a UKZN academic being kicked by a man at the Westville campus emerged on social media, which led to a reward of R10 000 being offered for any information on the suspect. UKZN said it was working on identifying the culprit.

Mary de Haas, a peace monitor and former academic at the institution, said UKZN should put its foot down and target those responsible for the violence. De Haas said UKZN should know who the troublemakers are and stop them. “You find that there's a key group of instigators who might not even be students,” she said.

It was a small group of students who made life difficult for others, De Haas said. Staff at the institution should also ensure they monitor the troublemakers and report them, she said. What saddened her was that there were students who had genuine issues that needed to be resolved.

The situation had reached a point where former alumni were also angered by developments. On Wednesday Kiru Naidoo made an offer of R10000 for information leading to the arrest of the man who attacked the professor.

Naidoo said watching the video of the academic being attacked left him “very angry it left me outraged”. Naidoo said it affected him because he was a graduate of the institution and if the name of UKZN was tarnished, it would affect his qualifications too.

Since making the offer he had received a flurry of calls from students and other people offering information on the man who attacked the academic. He said students had also said that the attacker did not represent them. “I have a lot of sympathy for students’ struggles to get an education,” he said, adding that violence, however, was not the way.

UKZN yesterday condemned the incident, spokesperson Ashton Bodrick saying the academic had received a slight injury to his hand.

“We are working closely with SAPS to identify the suspects involved. Management has been in contact with the professor and is providing him with support and counselling,” he said.

Bodrick said staff and students had been intimidated at lecture venues. He implored students to stop the acts of violence, which he said were making matters worse.

Bodrick said UKZN management were doing their best to resolve the problem of historical debt.

Daily News

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