UKZN students armed with rocks, sticks disrupt classes

Kaveel Singh, News24

Durban - Armed with rocks and sticks, students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Edgewood campus disrupted classes on Thursday.

They were voicing their discontent with management at the campus.

About 450 students, with senior members of the Students' Representative Council, gathered for the second time in two days to put a stop to teaching. They said management was "not allowing the student voice to be heard".

"We have done this today [Thursday] because we believe they will continue to give us substandard services if we do not," SRC President Siphamandla Chagwe said.

Some of the main concerns raised include lack of qualified security and financial aid, dilapidating residences and inaccessible management. After handing over a memorandum of demands to management, Chagwe insisted that negotiations start "immediately".

"We want the powers that be to know we will not be silenced. We do, however, want this matter resolved by Monday at the latest. In the meanwhile, we cannot promise we will still not protest.

"There are leaks coming down three floors at a residence, students have been stabbed because of a lack of security and others have not written exams because they know they cannot afford even to get their results. This must all change," said Chagwe.

Lesiba Seshoka, the university's executive director for the corporate relations division, confirmed that management had a meeting with the student leadership and that a memorandum was handed over.

"The students have subsequently dispersed and all law enforcement personnel have withdrawn from the campus.

"Academic activities at the Edgewood Campus have resumed," he said.