As UKZN lectures resume, EFF students commit arson, vandalism

Several students said they would not be resuming studies at the institution after completing the year, presumably due to disruptions.

A group of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) students from the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s (UKZN) Westville campus tried to torch a security quad bike, smashed several windows and ended up stoning police and private security today.

The incidents occurred on the day that the academic programme resumed following a spate of violent protests last week that forced management to again temporarily suspend lectures.

“A group of students embarked on violent protest action and disrupted the academic programme on the University of KwaZulu-Natal Westville campus this morning,” said Normah Zondo, acting executive director for corporate relations.

She said the students committed acts of “arson” and caused “grave damage” to university property, including buildings.

One student was injured in the fracas and received medical attention at the university clinic.

“The protest action was led by EFF students (Westville campus) who were raising grievances outside of the discussion and formal agreement reached between management and the Central SRC, following two days of deliberations. It must be noted that the EFF students were part of all discussions and the formal agreement reached,” said Zondo.

She said university management “will not tolerate any criminal behaviour or the intimidation of staff and students.”

A case of public violence had been opened, said Zondo.

When the African News Agency (ANA) left the campus today the scene was calm, although several students said they would not be resuming studies at the institution after completing the year.

A statement was sent out to staff and pupils on Tuesday saying that following “two days of intense engagement” between university management and student leadership, the academic programme would resume today.

Management and student leadership have been grappling with postgraduate funding, security issues at student residences, and WiFi.

For the past few weeks, UKZN students living at an off-campus residence in the Durban city centre have sporadically thrown burning mattresses and other furniture from their rooms, saying their beds are sub-standard.

KwaZulu-Natal has had a nasty start to its academic programme at tertiary institutions, with violent protests flaring up sporadically at the majority of universities.

On February 5, Durban University of Technology (DUT) student Mlungisi Madonsela was shot dead at the Steve Biko campus by a private security guard during violent protests.

African News Agency (ANA)

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