Durban - Police armed with anti-riot gear are out in force at the University of KwaZulu-Natal after around 100 students burnt bins behind the library and tried to disrupt the registration process on Thursday morning.
Police spokesman, Brigader Jay Naicker said the students protested at the campus early on Thursday and proceeded into the Shepstone Building registration point and activated a fire extinguisher which they used to dispersed the students that were waiting to register.
"They then proceeded to set bins on fire behind the library. Public Order Police were deployed to arrest the offenders. The students ran into various parts of the campus when approached by police. The situation is been monitored by police. No injuries were reported. The fire was extinguished," he said.
The Durban Metro police are assisting police and said they will be at the University of KwaZulu-Natal campuses 24 hours a day until the registration period ends next week.
Metro police spokesman, Senior Superintendent Parboo Sewpersad said they had arrested six people on Wednesday at the UKZN Howard College campus, which had become the latest violence flashpoint.
Six students were arrested for public violence, failure to comply with the lawful instructions of a police officer, and acting in a riotous or physical manner in which to incite public violence, he said. He expected the violence to reach its peak next week when the registration period closed.
UKZN had shut down on amid the ongoing violence at its campuses. Students have been fighting over a number of issues including historical debt and financial exclusion.
Sewpersad noted that students were moving from campus to campus, inciting violence and causing mayhem.
This was after the Risk Management Services building at the Westville campus was burnt early on Wednesday. It was the second time students had burnt this building during protests.
Sewpersad implored universities to beef up their security.
According to SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker, students at the Westville campus overpowered security guards and went about torching the management services buildings.
The security guards, who were pelted with stones, managed to flee and alerted the police.
By the time the police’s public order officers, along with other emergency services, arrived, the building was well alight. Firefighters were able to douse the inferno.
No arrests have been made in connection with the torching.
At Howard College, some students disrupted registration and forced other students to join them, and the number soon grew to about 1000, he said.
“They moved to Princess Alice Street and set DSW bins on fire on the road,” Naicker said.
UKZN spokesperson Ashton Bodrick said the university’s management would continue to engage with the student leadership.
“Unfortunately, vehicles belonging to the university and a private individual were set alight. There was also considerable damage to university buildings on the Howard College and Westville campuses,” he said.
Bodrick said they respected the students’ right to protest but there was no excuse for acts of violence.