Student strike, no end in sight

2016-09-28 06:00
PHOTO: amil umraw  The entrance to the William O'Brien residence at the University of  KwaZulu-Natal's (UKZN) Pietermaritzburg campus was set alight on Monday - the fire gutted the turnstile and the communal room alongside the entrance.

PHOTO: amil umraw The entrance to the William O'Brien residence at the University of KwaZulu-Natal's (UKZN) Pietermaritzburg campus was set alight on Monday - the fire gutted the turnstile and the communal room alongside the entrance.

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THE continuous violent protests at UKZN are not only causing inconvenience to dedicated students who want to learn, but also to the general public who use the campus as a venue for other events.

André the Hypnotist had to be cancelled at the Hexagon Theatre and moved to Winston Churchill for fear of violent protests.

The 2016 annual Peter Brown Memorial Seminar memorial lecture honouring the 60th anniversary of the struggle of women, which was scheduled to take place at the Colin Webb Hall, Pietermaritzburg campus at UKZN yesterday, was cancelled until further notice.

Sarafina, a play in which the students of 1976 courageously protested against the imposition of using Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in Township Schools, ironically was also postponed from September to October at the Hexagon Theatre due to protests. However if protests continue this too could be rescheduled, again.

Last week tutors in the vicinity of the university had to cancel their lessons with pupils, some of whom are matriculants currently writing trials, for safety of the children.

The greater impact that the strike is having on the rest of the city is huge.

Municipal services have had to work extra hours to clean the streets after students strew rubbish in the streets, police are working overtime trying to address the students while taking the focus away from more serious crimes they could be spending their time on.

Residents and many innocent people continue to get caught in the crossfire as the violence intensifies. Pupils at schools in and around the university are also at risk and parents going to fetch their children could be caught in the crossfire.

UKZN is at a loss on to how to address the students with the cost of damage to the university buildings growing every day.

Protesting students have vowed to continue striking until their concerns are addressed and their demands met. In the latest protest on Monday, students set William O’Brien (WOB) residence, on the main campus, alight leaving the building in ruins. They also smeared faeces on university property to prevent other students from working.

Final-year student exams have been moved much further into the year with it only scheduled to end on 15 December giving students and staff less leave over that period, with some having to wait longer and who might have to pay additional costs to travel home during the peak holiday season.

Brett Teichmann

Can someone tell me how stoning innocent cars driving past has anything to do with this cause? Clearly this is no longer a cause but that more of destruction. Clearly the plot has been lost here.

Ayesha Omarjee

They should actually close the res and send the students home and let those who want to study carry on. How stupid can these people be burning and breaking things they will need once this stupid protest is over

Maggie Govender

Where are parents for these children? Why can’t they come sort them out? These parents are most likely to have taken out a bond on their houses, bank loan or working 2 jobs so that their children can get educated and what a way to show their appreciation.

Julia Norman

The culprits should be made to clean up all the areas they have vandalised, in chains if necessary. Makes me so angry.

Diana Boucher Ambler

If they want free education then they must pay for all the damages!

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