UKZN students go rampage at start of academic year, torch another building

Published Feb 3, 2020


Durban - The beginning of the university academic year got off to a violent start at the University of KwaZulu-Natal when students set alight the HIV support centre at Howard College campus.

Metro police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Parboo Sewpersad said the building was set alight early on Monday morning. This happened as lectures were expected to start. 

The building is the second one to be set alight. 

Last week the Risk Management Services building at Westville campus was set alight allegedly by protesting students. 

he violent protests and arson resulted in orientation programmes and registration being temporarily stopped. Police have been engaged in running battles with students since last week with numerous arrests being made.

The protests have been characterised by constant conflict between students and police, with cars and the offices of the Risk Management Services at UKZN’s Westville campus torched.

This resulted in the university closing some of its services.

Police arrested several students from both universities.

The students complained that they wanted historical debt and financial exclusion to be scrapped.

At UKZN, talks between the SRC and management reached a deadlock. UKZN management said it was helping students as much as it could and already had about R1.7 billion of student debt.

Unisa management was also contending with a staff strike over salary increases and occupational health and safety matters.

Sewpersad said they had been deployed to campuses around the city to prevent violence.

He said joint deployments from the SAPS, metro and private security guards would be present to prevent flare-ups of violence this week.

Sewpersad urged security companies to ensure they were on the ground and in large numbers when protests erupted.

He said police had noticed that students targeted security guards during the protests. This was done to gain control of the campus, Sewpersad said.

He urged students to refrain from violence.

Daily News

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