SRC leader among arrested UKZN students
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A University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College SRC leader was among nine students arrested as private security and police cracked down on students who joined a protest by outsourced workers at the university on Wednesday.
The students were arrested for allegedly hurling stones at buildings and protesting in defiance of a court order the university had secured against the students, interdicting them from protesting on university premises.
The protesters arrested at Howard College are being charged with failing to comply with a court order, intimidation and malicious damage to property.
At the Edgewood campus, three students were arrested for contravening a court order.
The university did not respond to questions on Wednesday.
Police spokeswoman, Lieutenant Nqobile Gwala, confirmed the arrests. She said protests were initially peaceful, but students later stoned buildings at Howard College.
“Six of them, aged between 23 and 34, were arrested… Public order police instructed them to disperse but they did not, then police were forced to disperse them,” she said.
The six were expected to appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.
Gwala said the three other student protesters – aged 17 – who were arrested and charged for contravening a protection order at the Edgewood campus would appear in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.
Howard College SRC deputy president, Sunshine Myende, confirmed on Wednesday night that a student leader was among students detained at the Umbilo police station.
She claimed the leader was not among a group of students who had joined the outsourced workers, as pressure grows to end outsourcing at the university.
The university secured a court order against the students, University of KwaZulu-Natal SRCs at all campuses and the South African Liberated Public Sector Workers Union this week.
University registrar, Simon Mokoena, in an affidavit before the court, said the demands of the protesters were “unaffordable” and not in line with the Labour Relations Act.
Myende accused the private security of heavy-handed tactics and claimed they had shot at students with rubber bullets.
“A few students were hurt by the private security and we are very worried by the tactics being used by these guards because on Tuesday we found one of them with a pocket knife, but we are going to address that matter internally and also with the police,” she said.
Central SRC president, Senzo Ngidi, would only say “we are dealing with the issue” when he was pressed for comment on Wednesday night and also indicated student leaders were to meet.
Meanwhile, the University of Cape Town has applied for an interim interdict against students and members of the Rhodes Must Fall movement.
The university posted the application on its social media pages with a link to the legal document.
The 16 respondents named in the application are Sanchia Davids, Kirsten Whitfield, Mogezi Mayepi, Neo Reiloe Mancapa, De Waal Hugo, Itumeleng Nkululeko Molefe – son of Eskom’s Brian Molefe – Dumisani Ncubani, Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania member, Athabile Nonxuba, former UCT teaching assistant, Alex Hotz, gender activist Pam Dhlamini, Masixole Mlandu, Slovo Magida, Zola Shokane, Brian Kamanzi, Ru Slayen, and Chumani Maxwele.
The application also cites, as a 17th respondent, those “persons who associate themselves with any unlawful conduct at any of the university’s premises”.
The respondents would be interdicted “from entering, or remaining on, any of the applicant’s premises” until 2pm next Friday.
The application also calls for the interdicting and restraining of all respondents from “any action that obstructs or frustrates the effective rendering of university services or decision-making processes of (UCT)”.
This includes entering or occupying any UCT premises, erecting unauthorised structures, destroying or defacing any property, or inciting violence.