End UKZN strike, says ANC

2014-09-06 13:18
UKZN. (File, Twitter)

UKZN. (File, Twitter)

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Johannesburg - University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) management and student representatives need to engage in serious negotiations so that the impasse between the two can be resolved, the ANC said in a statement.

"The ANC has noted with deep concern the ongoing tensions between UKZN management and students which have led to the unfortunate suspension of lectures on the institution's Westville Campus". provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said in a statement.

"We are worried that the standoff happens at a very critical time when students should be sharpening their readiness for the final examinations scheduled to take place in two months."

The African National Congress called for a solution to be found before it affected academic performance. On Thursday, the university said lectures were suspended after at least three people were injured when protesters and police clashed on the Westville campus in Durban.

"The Westville campus in particular was not accessible to university staff as well as students who reside outside campus", spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said in a statement.

"The executive management committee deliberated on the situation this morning [Thursday] and took a decision to suspend the academic programme on all campuses for Thursday and Friday this week."

Violence

The academic programme would resume on Monday.

A police officer and two students were injured on Thursday morning.

Seshoka said there had been "serious violent protests" at the Westville, Howard, Edgewood, and Pietermaritzburg campuses on Thursday morning.

On Tuesday, police used a water cannon against protesting students at the Westville campus.

At the time Seshoka said about 200 students embarked on illegal protests on the campus, disrupted lectures, and damaged property. A number of cars were stoned and some facilities set alight.

Seshoka said the university 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 the university.

In a memorandum, students said financial aid, the draft loans and bursary policy, and funding for postgraduate students, were reasons to protest.

Zikalala said while the ANC acknowledged the constitutional right for every citizen to express their concerns freely, lawlessness could not be condoned.

"We therefore condemn the reported destruction of UKZN's property during protests this week. Any violent conduct to highlight grievances is unacceptable and uncalled-for", he said.

"We call on UKZN and other universities to ensure that students concerns receive honest and urgent attention to obviate tensions and protests which often lead to the disruption of teaching and learning."

Read more on:    ukzn  |  durban  |  education  |  protests

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