UKZN Students demand solution as talks continue

Chelsea Pieterse and Sabelo Nsele, The Witness

Pietermaritzburg - Tensions rose at the UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg and Durban campuses on Wednesday after protest action started for a third week.

Students in Pietermaritzburg gathered holding placards demanding a solution to issues they had been protesting about.

Students and SRC members at the Pietermaritzburg campus said there had been no resolution in the three-week discussions between UKZN and the SRC and were sick and tired of negotiating, without finding any solutions.

A member of the SRC, who would not be named, said the protest would continue until management met their demands.

He added that the protest had “lost momentum” because of the court interdict obtained by the university preventing students from gathering in groups of more than 20.

UKZN executive director of corporate relations issued a press release on the protest action at the campuses on Wednesday.

“The Pietermaritzburg campus experienced minor disruptions this morning [Wednesday], where a small number of students attempted to disrupt classes.”

The statement said university risk management services (RMS) and the SA Police Service (SAPS) dispersed the protesting students and are continuing to monitor the situation.

Regarding the protests in Durban, the release said Edgewood campus turned violent when students pelted security personnel with stones.

“One student and five security personnel were injured in the fracas. The situation has been brought under control.

“The Westville campus experienced an act of arson last night [Tuesday]. The Student Wellness Office was set alight, however, RMS were successful in extinguishing the blaze and five suspects were seen fleeing the scene. RMS pursued the suspects and were able to apprehend two of them.

“Since the start of the protest action, a number of the students found engaging in criminal activity have been apprehended and charged. University management are currently in discussion with the student leadership regarding their grievances.”

The Witness