UKZN management and students must talk - DoE

2014-09-06 22:28

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Johannesburg - University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) management and student representatives need to engage in talks to end the strike at the campus, the department of higher education and training said on Saturday.

"We are calling for the management to convene students leadership to resume engagements and no party must withdraw until a solution is found," spokesperson Khaye Nkwanyana said in a statement.

He said at no point could strike action resolve the student's issues.

Nkwanyana said talks between the university's management and the student representative would be the best way to normalise the academic process.

On Thursday, the university said lectures were suspended after at a police officer and two students 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 at the time.

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

The academic programme would resume on Monday.

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

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.

Nkwanyana said the department condemned the damaging of the university's property.

"No amount of anger and frustration can justify the act that vandalises public property that belongs to the future generations of students," he said.

Read more on:    durban  |  education

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