The University of Zululand. Photo: @gembecusi

Durban - A security guard has been left critically injured after being severely assaulted by students at the University of Zululand (UniZulu), police said on Friday.

Police spokesman Captain Mbongeni Mdlalose said that the guard, who was working for a private security company contracted by university, was beaten on Thursday afternoon during protests.

He said students had also attempted to set alight a security vehicle but were stopped.

“Mtunzini SAPS are investigating charges of malicious damage to property, public violence and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm,” Mdlalose said.

While police could not elaborate on why the security guard was beaten, a student leader who spoke on condition of anonymity said the guard was assaulted because he had been seen firing teargas at the students.

ANC Youth League Unizulu branch secretary Xolani Mkhize also confirmed that the university’s Student Representative Council (SRC) president, Wandile Mathebula, was also assaulted and stabbed on Thursday.

Mkhize said that students had grown weary of Mathebula’s apparent failure to lead them.

“We as the students of Unizulu are leaderless. Our SRC president is in bed with management and for that reason he was stabbed.”

University spokeswoman Gcinekile Nhleko said: “I can confirm that a security guard was critically injured, he is in a critical but stable condition. He is alive and in hospital.”

She dismissed rumours circulating on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter that the guard had died.

“I have been unable to get hold of Wandile, therefore I can’t speak on his behalf,” she said, referring to the SRC president.

Police could not immediately confirm if Mathebula had opened a case.

Further reports indicated that students had stoned some lecturers’ cars.

A memorandum calling for a vote of no confidence in the university vice chancellor Professor Xoliswa Mtose and other members of executive management was signed by at least 380 staff and handed over to the university on Thursday.

“We are calling on the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande, to intervene and disband this council, and to put an administrator in place,” Mkhize said at a press briefing held by student bodies on Friday.

“The Vice Chancellor Professor Xoliswa Mtose must do the honourable thing and resign to bring peace to our university.”

Mkhize was among members of other political student bodies, who are calling on management to bring an end to the seven-week National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) strike so that classes can resume.

African News Agency