Government appeals for calm at universities

2016-09-07 07:11
FILE: Six vehicles and a building were torched in riots at UKZN. (Supplied)

FILE: Six vehicles and a building were torched in riots at UKZN. (Supplied)

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Johannesburg – Government on Tuesday appealed for calm following violent protests over fee increases at some universities. 

“Students are advised not to participate in activities that may place them in conflict with the law as they protest against fee increases at universities,” GCIS acting director-general Donald Liphoko said in a statement.

Liphoko said the student fee issue was receiving their full attention and government called on students to allow consultations to be concluded peacefully. 

Destruction of property and violence would not be tolerated.

“Government understands the difficult circumstances faced by many students in the country and is doing everything in its power to resolve the situation,” he said.

Liphoko called on student leaders to protect university infrastructure.

On Tuesday afternoon, firefighters brought a fire at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Howard College law library under control.

Photos posted to social media showed flames rising from windows of the building.

UKZN announced it would break early for the September holidays due to violent student protests and arson on its campuses.

It would be closed from Wednesday until September 19, spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said in a statement.

Sixteen students, aged between 17 and 20, were arrested on charges of public violence, contravening a court order, and damaging property on the Westville campus on Monday night.

Six cars and a building were set alight.

On Tuesday, police confronted protesters on the Westville, Howard College, and Pietermaritzburg campuses.

Last Tuesday, a coffee shop in a cafeteria on the Howard College campus was set alight. An exam hall on the Pietermaritzburg campus was destroyed in a fire a day later.

Read more on:    ukzn  |  durban  |  education  |  university fees

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