News / 4 September 2014, 2:58pm / Nosipho Mngoma and Sihle Mlambo
Durban - A policeman and two students were injured during protests at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Westville campus earlier on Thursday.
There were also unconfirmed reports of arrests including of a student who is alleged to have pointed a firearm at police.
The campus gates were closed to students and lecturers after protesters had stoned vehicles.
Police used rubber bullets and tear gas after a group of students threw stones at windows. Some of the students were wearing masks and balaclavas.
At Edgewood campus earlier on Thursday police used tear gas to disperse students.
After speaking to the SRC, police allowed them to gather for an hour-and-a-half. At the time of publication students were still gathered, singing and an SRC representative said they were still to decide if they would disperse.
A parent who went to drop off his son at the Westville campus this morning said people were queueing outside the locked gates, but security was not allowing anyone in.
Paramedics said the injured policeman was hit by a brick but could not immediately supply further details.
Between 200 and 300 protesters were involved in the morning’s disturbances.
The Daily News has also received unconfirmed reports of protests at Edgewood campus.
Police and security were also monitoring the university’s Howard College and Edgewood campuses.
Yesterday, students gathered at the Howard College and Edgewood campuses to protest against proposed fee increases for next year.
UKZN spokesman, Lesiba Seshoka, said on Tuesday the protest had turned violent as vehicles were stoned and facilities set alight at the Westville campus.
The main entrance had been barricaded with burning tyres.
Two students were arrested, according to the university, but this could not be confirmed by police.
A small group of students had marched, singing and chanting, through the campus. Police with water cannon and university security armed with paintball guns were called in to disperse the protesters.
According to a statement released by the university on Wednesday, about 400 protesters had disrupted lectures on Wednesday and intimidated students at the Howard College campus.
At the Edgewood campus in Pinetown, police had been called in to disperse a protest by about 200 students.
According to the Student Representative Council (SRC) at Edgewood on Wednesday, the university had proposed the registration fee be increased from R3 250 to R6 500. The SRC had rejected this, as well as a lesser amount of R4 500 it said had been proposed.
Seshoka had last week disputed this, saying the proposal had been a gradual fee increase of 10 percent a year over two to three years.
This was to be understood within the context of the current student debt, which now exceeded R800 million, he said.
Seshoka on Wednesday urged students not to embark on any illegal action while the consultative process, stemming from a memorandum from the SRC last Friday with regards to financial aid, registration and students fees, was under way.
Students also called for the registration date of February 6 to be moved back so they would have more time to come up with the registration fee.