UKZN students protest the suspension of cleaning staff

Police had to be called to deal with a violent protest at the UKZN Westville campus. Photos supplied

Police had to be called to deal with a violent protest at the UKZN Westville campus. Photos supplied

Published Jun 13, 2022


Durban - Classes have been disrupted at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Westville campus after students protested against the suspension of 300 campus cleaners by the university management.

Students blockaded entrances with burning objects thereby disrupting activities on the campus including classes.

The EFF deputy branch campus chairperson Nsiki Mbanjwa told the Daily News on Monday morning that the students were angered by the alleged exploitation of the cleaners and decided to intervene to force the university to listen to their grievances, and also bring back the 300 staff that were suspended last week.

A metro police hippo at the UKZN Westville campus following the student protest. Photo: Supplied

Mbanjwa said the suspended staff had submitted a memorandum and instead of the management listening and attending to their grievances, it suspended them indefinitely.

“We are demanding the reinstatement of all the 300 suspended staff without conditions. We know and understand their grievances so we want the university to bring them back immediately. We are bound to support the staff because they are very much part of us since many of them clean and look after us in the residences and we are directly affected by their suspension,” said Mbanjwa.

Angry students emptied refuse bags on the road to block access to the offices at the UKZN Westville campus. Photo: Supplied

She said instead of engaging with students the university called police, who shot at them with rubber bullets and teargas, thereby injuring two students. Among the demands in the memorandum, Mbanjwa said, was the issue of medical aid provision, the terms of which she said had unreasonable conditions that the staff would attend only hospitals or doctors in Durban.

The university management is yet to respond to the allegations raised by students and the staff.

To comment on the story send a WhatsApp message to our Backchat column on 071 485 7995

Daily News