Fiery attacks on UKZN and DUT property

2015-02-17 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL tertiary institutions came under petrol-fuelled ­attack as students burnt property and attempted to use petrol bombs.

At the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg campus, protesters set a university vehicle alight on ­Sunday evening while simultaneously Durban University of Technology ­students attempted to throw petrol bombs at the Steve Biko Campus, ­Durban. No one was reported injured at either university.

While the incidents are not linked, both institutions have instituted several security measures with UKZN last week having suspended all lectures until next week while DUT instructed its personnel to search all students and staff before they entered the campus.

In an internal memo, DUT vice-chancellor Ahmed Bawa said students unsuccessfully tried to ­“set off three petrol bombs” using beer bottles.

“Please be cautious and alert. If you notice anything suspicious, see anyone damaging university property or ­intimidating you or others, please ­report the incident,” he wrote.

Bawa made an appeal to all students and staff to share any videos or photographs with the campus security.

“I have asked the campus security team to review all relevant CCTV ­footage so that we can identify who was responsible. These acts are designed to create panic and fear, to disrupt and damage our university.”

Berea SAPS spokesperson Lieutenant Poobalan Naidoo said while these protests appear to happen annually, several arrests were made and that the situation was under control.

The exact reasons for the protest are unclear but police believe it is related to either financial aid, accommodation or registration fees.

Pietermaritzburg campus students who saw the vehicle yesterday morning said black smoke could still be seen coming from it.

The attack was allegedly carried out by protesters who have brought the university to a standstill as all lectures have been cancelled until February 23.

The protests that have spread to all three campuses are said to be against a 12% fee increase.

According to UKZN spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka, the matter was ­reported to the police and is under ­investigation. “All criminal acts will be dealt with in terms of the law ­enforcement processes. The university condemns this malicious destruction of property,” Seshoka said.

Last week students blocked access to the Westville campus by burning ­appliances on the road.

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