KZN march marred by spat

2015-10-24 10:15
Students from DUT, FET and UKZN march to the legislature to protest against fee increments.

Students from DUT, FET and UKZN march to the legislature to protest against fee increments. (Ian Carbutt)

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Watch: UWC protesters march on campus

2015-10-23 17:20

Students at UWC occupied their Admin Building amongst the #feesmustfall campaign. WATCH

Pietermaritzburg - Student leaders heckled each other as they fought over who would deliver a memorandum at the provincial legislature on Friday.

As part of the nationwide fee increase protest, the students’ representative council (SRC) of the Durban University of ­Technology’s Riverside campus mobilised students from FET colleges to join them in their march to the legislature.

They were joined by a group from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. However, the students could not agree on who would deliver and read the memorandum, forcing Arts and Culture MEC Ntombikayise Sibhidla-Saphetha to wait for two hours as student leaders fought among themselves.

The students then pelted the MPLs watching them with water bottles. No one was injured.

Eventually the DUT and FET students separated themselves from the group and addressed Sibhidla-Saphetha separately.

DUT SRC secretary-general Sandile Nene said the government had had the money to build the 2010 World Cup stadiums and should therefore also have money for free education.

“We must make the government understand that education is not a privilege but our right.”

Nene called on the government to invest more in education through the National Students Financial Aid Scheme, which this year had R10 billion in its coffers.

“The system is victimising poor students. There are students who are academically deserving to be at university, but cannot afford these ridiculous fees,” said Nene.

“Universities are making profits through our parents’ blood and sweat.”

Sibhidla-Saphetha said the students are fighting a good cause, but told them to respect their leaders. She said she would pass their memorandum on to the Higher Education Department.

Nene said the UKZN group had misunderstood the programme of the day.

“Yesterday [Thursday] they had their own march and some of our students came out to support them. Today it was our own march,” he said.

In Durban, exams were postponed again yesterday at DUT campuses. Protesting students marched from the ML Sultan Campus to the Steve Biko Campus. “On arrival at the Steve Biko Campus, the protesting students sang and banged on the glass door of the Fred Crookes Sports Centre, where students were busy writing their exams,” said spokesperson Alan Khan.

“The protesting students threatened to break down the door of the sports centre until the exams were stopped. A decision was made to halt the exams, in the best interests of our students and staff who were in the venue at the time,” he said

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  student protests

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