KwaZulu-Natal / 16 September 2015, 3:59pm / SIHLE MLAMBO and SHERLISSA PETERS
Durban - Within hours of the University of KwaZulu-Natal saying it would use its full might to clamp down on rioting students, and suspended all lectures, violence erupted on the Pietermaritzburg campus.
Police squared off with a large group of unruly students at the Scottsville campus last night.
Rubber bullets were eventually fired to disperse the throng that attacked police with stones and bottles.
Fire Department officials were also at the scene after a bus parked on the campus was set alight.
Several buildings on the main campus in Alan Paton Road were damaged after students threw rocks at the windows. No injuries were reported and no arrests were made.
Meanwhile, student leaders said they would not negotiate until the Westville SRC president, Lukhanyo Mtshingana - who they say was arrested on Monday - was released.
His detention could not be confirmed.
The protests in Westville - condemned by other student organisations - led to the torching of the university’s risk management services building, two cars being set alight and the stoning of an administration building - one that is occupied by vice-chancellor, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld.
The police had charged two students, aged 21 and 24, with malicious damage to property and public violence and said they were expected to appear in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
Van Jaarsveld met students at Howard College on Tuesday and said he was still grappling with what the grievances were because there were many issues raised.
He said it was possible that political positioning was taking place among student leaders before the SRC elections next month.
He said a full-scale investigation, aided by video and photographic footage, was under way, and said the university would not be afraid to pursue disciplinary action against students.
The students are demanding the university scrap a new policy designed to award National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding to the best performing students first.
The university wants to award funding to those students who pass with 70% first, and to tweak the criteria which call for students to pass with 50%.
The university’s chief financial officer, Bulelani Mahlangu, said too many students, who were performing well, were frozen out after the NSFAS budget was depleted.
* On Wednesday EFF deputy leader, Floyd Shivambu, was to address an EFF-aligned student organisation at the Mangosuthu University of Technology at lunch time, as part of the SRC election campaign.
The ANC-aligned SA Students Congress disrupted EFF leader Julius Malema’s visits to tertiary institutions in Durban last year.