Durban — The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) says it has resolved an issue with students who had allegedly prevented Risk Management Services (RMS) staff from leaving a residence after a student committed suicide.
The students are alleged to have been aggrieved about the ambulance response times. This comes after the Daily News was alerted to a private residence of UKZN, Victoria Heights, on Bertha Mkhize (Victoria) Street, where it was alleged that a student committed suicide on Wednesday morning, resulting in the students being angry.
It was further alleged that 10 teachers were held hostage by about 200 students.
Responding to the allegations, UKZN corporate relations executive director Normah Zondo expresses the university’s deep condolences over the unfortunate death of one of its students who resided at Victoria Heights residence in the Durban city centre.
“We understand the immense loss and grief the family and friends of the deceased are going through at this difficult time,” Zondo said.
She said that according to reports received, the incident occurred early on April 12, after the student fell from the 7th floor of the building. There is currently no suspicion of any foul play.
She said that RMS staff were alerted by a witness. RMS personnel immediately contacted the ambulance services. Two ambulances (one belonging to the Department of Health and another belonging to a private service provider) arrived.
Zondo said that despite the best efforts of medical professionals, the student succumbed to her injuries at the scene.
“We are aware that some students have raised concerns over the response time of the ambulance services. As an institution, we are currently investigating these claims. Preliminary investigations show that both ambulances responded within 22 minutes after the incident was reported,” Zondo said.
She said that in a bid to ensure a safe and supportive environment for their students, they had initiated ongoing engagement with their students, and would continue to do so to ensure that all their concerns were addressed.
Zondo added that the university had provided counselling services to the friends of the deceased, and would continue to offer support during this trying time.
“On Thursday, members of RMS went to the residence and were prevented from leaving by the students, who are aggrieved about the ambulance response times. The matter was later amicably resolved,” Zondo said.
“We would also like to thank the members of RMS who handled the situation with the utmost professionalism, and commend the students for amicably resolving the matter.”
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