JeVanne Gibbs
2 minute read
5 Sep 2014
6:03 am

KZN gripped by violent protests

JeVanne Gibbs

KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) continues to be one of the provinces with the highest contingent of Public Order Policing (Pop), while the region remains gripped by violent protests.

FILE PICTURE: A scene from protesting UKZN students. Picture: @kznems twitter

Figures released by the police had indicated that the province has a contingent of 994 policing members, while the Western Cape has 325 of the 4 721 members allocated countrywide.

DA Shadow Police Minister Dianne Kohler Barnard said these policing members had to deal with 13 575 protests around the country in the past few months, of which 1 907 turned violent due to dissatisfaction with service delivery.

“This is up from 12 399 crowd-related incidents of which 1 882 turned violent in 2012/13,” said Kohler Barnard.

In KwaZulu-Natal, protests continue to be widespread for a number of reasons including service delivery, amongst others.

On Thursday, the student protest at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Edgewood and Westville campuses continued, with reports on social media of black smoke rising from the Westville campus.

A student and a police officer had been treated for injuries sustained during confrontations, according to Highway Mail.

The university’s executive director of corporate relations Lesiba Seshoka said about 400 protestors had disrupted lectures and intimidated students at the Howard College campus.

Around 200 students were believed to have caused disruptions at the Edgewood campus.

“We have obtained a High Court Order protecting the University against unlawful protests, disruptive gatherings, demonstrations, mass action, intimidation or any violent act to persons or property at the entrance and premises of UKZN campuses,” Seshoka said in a statement.

“The University will take appropriate action on any student or person who is in breach of the Order. Offenders will be charged for contempt of court.”

The protest was said to be against a proposed increase in the university’s registration fees to R9 000.

KZN police and the university’s risk management services would continue to monitor the situation while discussions with pupils continue.

The university’s academic programme is expected to resume on Monday.

The latest protest action follows a high-level rapid response team having been dispatched to the Mooi Mpofana local municipality to address violent demonstrations in the area last week.

KZN cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube said the department recognised the community’s right to protest, and urged protesters to be respectful to people who made use of the N3 in the vicinity of their town.