Court halts campus, mill strikes
Durban - Striking University of KwaZulu-Natal students have been interdicted from gathering unlawfully at any of the institution’s campuses, while workers involved in protest action at Illovo Sugar’s Noodsberg Mill in Dalton have also been stopped from doing so.
These two separate interdicts were confirmed in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday.
In both matters, the police had been ordered to help security enforce the court orders.
The acting registrar of the university, Deogratius Jaganyi, said that if the order were not granted, the protest action would result in harm to the functioning of the university and would endanger the lives of staff and students.
He highlighted the incidents that had taken place at the Edgewood campus, saying the grievances were that there was a lack of hot water, there was no wi-fi at the residence and there was a lack of security.
The strikers broke windows, removed students from classes and carried out acts of intimidation.
At times, striking students had covered their faces.
Jaganyi said the police had not addressed the unrest with the full force and attention it required.
“The mood is extremely tense and the situation volatile,” said Jaganyi.
In February, the university had obtained an interdict to stop strike action, yet despite this, students protested this month. The council of the university on Tuesday condemned the violent protests.
Council chairman Ayanda Ntsaluba urged the university management to follow all the necessary legal processes to ensure that the perpetrators were held accountable.
The council appealed to legitimate student leaders to formally express their grievances and concerns to the university, and for the institution’s management to be more effective in dealing with such grievances.
Of the mill strike, David Howells, the managing director of Illovo, said that at the beginning of the year amendments were made to the Labour Relations Act that required the company to reconsider its casual labour policy.
Howells said it was not the intention of the company to employ everyone who worked casually. Those not offered permanent jobs went to the CCMA and lost. They then began a strike that included threats of violence, setting alight a company bakkie and a private vehicle.