WATCH: Rampaging students torch another UKZN building in late night protest
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Durban - The auditorium and dining hall along with the main venue for exams at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Edgewood campus near Pinetown was set alight by rampaging students on Wednesday night.
Students, angry that the university is not planning to extend registration for those with historical debt, went on the rampage and torched the building. It is the latest incident in an ongoing battle between students and university management over student debt.
Ethekwini Fire Department Acting Divisonal Commander Craig Peters said a building, the main auditorium, was allegedly set alight.
Peters said when they arrived the fire had gone through the roof. Firefighters had prevented the fire from spreading and damped down the hotspots.
“We were aware of student riots. None of the fire fighters were attacked. We had to wait at the gate to be escorted into the premises by Durban Metro police and campus security. There were no injuries reported. The cause of the fire is being investigated,” Peters said.
A source said rocks and stones lying around the auditorium where students allegedly been breaking the windows
Last month the university obtained a Durban High Court interdict prohibiting all students from protesting or inciting protests. The interdict was an extension of a previous order which listed and banned members of its students representative council and other students’ political organisations from protesting.
Among the numerous activities banned by the latest interdict are damaging UKZN property; assaulting or intimidating anyone entering any of the university’s campuses; and instigating or organising mass action.
Since the start of the academic year, students and UKZN management have been engaged in a battle over historical debt. Students and their leaders want their old debts scrapped, and was unaffordable for many students.
The university on the other hand said it cannot make any further concessions as it is already in a financially precarious position, having to contend with a debt of about R1.7billion.
The violence has led to numerous buildings and cars being torched at the institution’s various campuses, and an academic being assaulted last week, which caused a large social media uproar.