7 students arrested at UKZN Maritzburg campus

Durban – Seven students have been arrested during unrest at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) Pietermaritzburg campus over the weekend, police said on Saturday.

"Four students were arrested [on Saturday] for contravening court orders by inciting violence when throwing stones at security guards," said Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane.

This follows the arrest on Friday night of three students at the campus after the computer room was burnt down.

He said there was a police presence on Saturday afternoon.

Violent clashes have broken out over the last few weeks at various universities across the country during protests against fee increases.

On Friday, News24 journalist Kaveel Singh was arrested and later released while covering student protests on UKZN's Westville campus.

'Sporadic protest action'

In a statement issued by UKZN on Saturday, the university acknowledged that the Pietermaritzburg campus had "experienced sporadic protest action" late on Friday night and on Saturday.

According to the statement, there was little damage caused to a building that was set alight at approximately 23:00 on Friday night, as University Risk Management Services (RMS) were quick to extinguish the flames.

"At approximately 03:00, a student LAN caught fire. University RMS were able to extinguish the fire in good time, however, five computers were burnt," the statement read.

"University RMS and SAPS are investigating the acts of arson."

Three RMS guards sustained injuries in clashes with protesting students and were admitted to hospital.

"While we respect the rights of students to protest, we expect that the protest action will be peaceful and not hinder the academic programme and students' rights to a conducive learning environment," the statement went on to say, adding that the university has a High Court interdict in place protecting it from any unlawful protests or mass gatherings.

The academic programme is expected to proceed on all campuses.

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