Student unrest ‘will continue’

2016-09-01 12:51
Fire fighters battle the blaze that gutted part of the Pietermaritzburg William O'Brien exam hall at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Fire fighters battle the blaze that gutted part of the Pietermaritzburg William O'Brien exam hall at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in the early hours of Wednesday morning. (Chelsea Pieterse)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pietermaritzburg - The student unrest at the University of KwaZulu-Natal will continue, student movement South African Students Congress (Sasco) has vowed.

This comes after the William O'Brien exam venue at the Pietermaritzburg campus was set alight in the early hours of Wednesday. It was extensively damaged. Lectures at the campus had just resumed on Monday, after two weeks of disruptions following student protests there.

Sasco in the province has said there will be more protests if management does not give in to the students’ demands. They threatened to mobilise students from other universities to come and support the UKZN students. KZN secretary-general Mduduzi Vilakazi blamed the “negligence” of the university management and the Department of Higher Education and Training for the destruction of property.

“This is a sign that the time for free education is now,” he said, adding the two should have listened to the students’ grievances long before the destruction of property started.

Vilakazi said they will not entertain any fee increase at tertiary institutions in 2017.

“It is high time that education becomes free. The government needs to invest in education. We are sick and tired of being told that there is a skills shortage while nobody is investing in our education,” he said.

Pietermaritzburg campus Students Representative Council (SRC) president Siphelele Nguse said Wednesday morning’s incident had “compromised” their “struggle”.

“Our struggle is not about burning down buildings. It is about free education. It will be impossible to get that free education if there are people who will decide to torch university property.

“The SRC knows nothing about this. We condemn this and we are saying that someone who did this must be arrested and face the music,” he said, adding the SRC would meet to discuss “the way forward”.

“This has put us in an awkward position. We are losing public support and we need to discuss whether we should continue with the protest or not. Our protest was genuine. The SRC never gave a mandate to anyone to go and burn down university property,” he said.

The Department of Higher Education and Training remained mum on the 2017 fee increment and the current student unrest on Wednesday.

Minister Blade Nzimande had previously said he would make the announcement on the fee increment in August, which ended on Wednesday. Attempts to get comment from his office were unsuccessful.

Department spokesperson Khaye Nkwanyana did not answer his phone or reply to e-mail and SMS queries sent to him.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  education  |  university fees  |  university protests

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.