UKZN students threaten to intensify protests

UKZN students threaten to intensify protests

Students protest at UKZN, calling for the eradication of historical debt. Image: Berea Mail

The student protests have led to the University of KwaZulu-Natal suspending its academic programme indefinitely.

“We will intensify the strike.”

That was the word from Mphathi Majola, chairperson of the Student Representative Council at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), after a meeting with university management on Tuesday.

Following two weeks of student protests at UKZN, the university has suspended its academic program indefinitely to meet with student leadership on Tuesday and discuss a way forward, reports Berea Mail.

The university resolved to extend the registration period to 6 March.

“In relation to other issues, including the 15 per cent payment of historic debt and other issues affecting students, there was no movement from the side of the management and they are maintaining that they will impose the 15%,” said Majola.

Central to the student protests has been the university’s policy requiring students to pay 15% of their historical debt before they are cleared to register.

In a separate incident, hundreds of students marched from Howard College to the City Hall in Durban on Tuesday afternoon.

The students were calling for eThekwini Municipality to intervene. The students were momentarily stopped by police when they reached Curries Fountain, who advised them the march was illegal.

After waiting a few hours, student leadership allegedly called city management and were given permission to proceed with the march.

Addressing students at the city hall, Kuhlekonke Ntuli, former Howard Campus SRC President, said students were striking because they wanted to study.

“UKZN is not a business but a school for higher education and training of students and we should all remember why we registered,” she said. “We are here because UKZN does not respect the right to education.”

Ntuli handed over a memorandum of demands to an official from the municipality.

Among the five-page memo was a call for the university to allow all students with a combined income of R350,000 to R600,000 (middle income) to register without paying the 15% debt owed.

The UKZN academic programme remains suspended.

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