Picture: Shan Pillay
DURBAN - The EFF-led student representative council (SRC) at the University of KwaZulu-Westville Campus has been suspended from its functions and stripped of its powers after leading a violent student protest last week.

The Westville structure was suspended by the main SRC body last week, and is being investigated for a number of allegations, dating from before the protest, by central SRC Disciplinary Committee. The Central SRC is led by the SA Student Congress (Sasco).

“We have sent a five-member task team to take over the functions of the SRC in Westville pending the outcome of the investigation,” said Central SRC president Sanele Hlongwa.

The Westville SRC came under the spotlight last week after being accused by the university of disregarding an agreement that had been reached with the central SRC, and leading a violent strike that caused extensive damage to university property.

Last week protesting students set a quad bike alight, partially torched a building and set tyres alight.

Hlongwa said he was not at liberty to disclose the charges until they had either been substantiated or disproved.

“Even before the chaos of last week, there had been numerous allegations that had been brought to the disciplinary committee against the EFF leadership in Westville.”

He accused the SRC in Westville of causing divisions in the SRC body.

“Very often they would be part of a meeting and the SRC would take a decision to say, ‘we are moving right’ on this matter and the EFF would agree with that, but after we would hear that the EFF was doing the opposite, and that is why it is difficult for the SRC to function,” Hlongwa said.

He added that while some people may be tempted to view the suspension as being politically motivated, this was not the case.

“We are talking about an organisation, and every organisation has regulations and a constitution, and if you step out of those, you deserve to be suspended,” Hlongwa said.

He said they had tasked the disciplinary committee to report back on the investigation within two weeks, but the committee had warned that it may need more time.

Normah Zondo, the acting executive director of Corporate Relations at UKZN said: “All we can confirm that the Westville SRC has been suspended and was suspended immediately after the incidents last week. We cannot comment beyond that.”

Attempts to speak to the EFF SRC leadership yesterday were unsuccessful.

THE MERCURY