Protest violence closes KZN campuses
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Durban - Violent student protests, which have been continuing for the past two weeks, forced the closure on Tuesday of the FET Midlands campuses, including Northdale, Msunduzi and Plessislaer.
Protesting students brought traffic to a standstill in Newholmes Way and Pietermaritz Street last week, when more than 1 000 gathered and went on a rampage, burning tyres and barricading the road.
Buildings on all three campuses were also damaged, with windows and water pipes being broken. Light fixtures in lecture theatres were also ripped out and bins upturned and litter strewn all around the campus and in classrooms.
Some staff who spoke to the Daily News on Tuesday said non-protesting students and members of staff were also threatened.
“Lectures have been postponed and the campuses shut down until further notice. Management is in the process of liaising with the SRC to come to some sort of resolution,” one lecturer said on Tuesday.
The students were demanding answers from campus management on funds meant for students, which they say have not been allocated to them.
The aggrieved students claim management had given them no explanation about student financial aid that had been provided by the National Students Financial Aid Scheme for transport, but had not filtered down to students.
Meanwhile, relative calm has returned to UKZN campuses following a court order granted to the university prohibiting students from participating in any protest action in the wake of weeks of violent protests.
On Monday, two students were arrested for allegedly threatening other students and chasing them out of their lectures by spraying them with a fire extinguisher.
The UKZN SRC had sent out a mass e-mail to students, calling for a boycott of all lectures, tests and tutorials in support of a “peaceful protest”
It is believed the students were protesting about issues related to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, student accommodation and the university’s intended closing of the registration appeals committee process.