Students asked to leave classes in ‘peaceful’ protest

2015-02-11 00:00

A PROTEST billed at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Pietermaritzburg ­campus yesterday caused a slight hiccup with lectures.

The group of 40 protesters reportedly went into every lecture room peacefully, asking students “nicely” to leave and ­lecturers to stop teaching.

As the protesters moved along, most students, however, continued with their classes. One lecturer, who asked not to be named, said three or four protesters entered the lecture theatre and asked the students to vacate the premises.

“They were quite polite actually. It was like nothing we ever saw before. He asked if we could please leave as they did not want the situation to escalate.”

The protest action at the Pietermaritzburg campus was a combined effort of Student Representative Council (SRC) members from other campuses in Durban, Edgewood and Westville, where strikes on a much larger scale also took place yesterday.

In a message distributed by the SRC on Monday, students were informed of yesterday’s protest action.

“Attention UKZN students: Please be informed that tomorrow there will be a protest hence we are not going to have lectures. Please pass this message to all UKZN students,” it read.

The protesters claim they are unhappy with a 12% hike in ­tuition fees, and alleged that ­student residences are in a poor condition.

UKZN spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said a case of intimidation had been opened and the university’s Risk Management Service (RMS) and the police are on standby on both the Edgewood and Pietermaritzburg’s campuses.

Seshoka confirmed that the university council had approved a 12% annual ­increase in tuition and accommodation fees for the 2015 academic year.

“This follows a careful consideration of the social circumstances of our students and wider consultation with university stakeholders,” Seshoka said. “In addition, inflation has negatively affected the allocation to the university from the government, making the current tuition fees paid by students inadequate.”

Seshoka said the university also ­provides academically sound students with about R7,2 million in scholarship funding for each year, and more than 40% of all UKZN students receive funding in the form of loans or bursaries.


According to UKZN’s student fees guide for 2015, these are some of the tuition fees that first-year undergraduate students will be expected to pay:

• Bachelor of Commerce: R39 170

• Bachelor of Arts: R45 860

• Bachelor of Social Sciences: R38 750

• Bachelor of Science (Civil Engineering): R39 150

• Bachelor of Science (Environmental Studies): R34 960

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