UKZN students threaten to 'forcefully occupy' residences unless opening date is given
Durban - The of KwaZulu-Natal students are calling on the institution to provide a date for the resumption of the academic year or they will forcefully occupy residences from tomorrow.
Students who spoke to The Mercury claimed that studying online was proving to be a challenge, adding that the university was taking too long to announce the resumption date.
This comes after the Minister of Higher Education, Dr Blade Nzimande, said only 33% of students would be allowed to return under lockdown level 3.
A final-year chemical engineering student at Howard College, who asked not to be named, said studying at home was a challenge for her.
Living in a rural area of Nongoma, northern KZN, network connectivity was her biggest challenge, she said.
“We come from different backgrounds, so we must not be treated equally. Some students reside in shacks. The university must allow us to come back to residences.
“We know what we need to do to ensure that we are safe. We are old enough. Even grades 12 and 7 have returned to school, yet the university is saying nothing.”
The “June 16 Movement”, which has been gaining momentum on social media, has been mobilising students to return to their residences tomorrow.
The institution has distanced itself from the movement.
“We urge students to stay away from creating and forwarding false information and appeal to all students to visit our website and official social media platforms to verify information at all times,” said the institution in a communique.
Mphathi Majola, of the EFF Student Command at Howard College, said they were very disappointed with the university’s “snail’s pace” progress towards restarting the academic year.
The DA Students’ Organisation (Daso) said it had written to the vice-chancellor, Professor Nana Poku, to seek clarity regarding the academic programme during lockdown level 3.
Daso UKZN chairperson Thabiso Phungula said many students had not yet received data packages and were unable to access the internet.