More than 30 students in court after building, cop cars torched in UniZulu protest

2018-03-02 13:25
Chaos erupted at the University of Zululand after student protests turned violent. (Supplied)

Chaos erupted at the University of Zululand after student protests turned violent. (Supplied)

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Durban – Thirty-two students are expected to appear in court on Friday after a protest turned violent at the University of Zululand on Thursday.

"A total of 32 students were arrested yesterday (Thursday) and they are appearing today in the Mtunzini Magistrate's Court," police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane said.

Zwane said a building and two police vehicles were set on fire on Thursday. Police were monitoring the situation on Friday.

ALSO READ: Unisa students take to the streets after NSFAS officials’ no-show

"Mtunzini police and public order police attended the scene (on Thursday) to calm the ruthless crowd," he said.

According to several university sources, on Thursday a student protest over meal allowances turned violent against staff and police.

The university then announced that it had shut down its KwaDlangezwa Campus after "damage to property and threat to life of both staff and students".

Students in residences told to leave

"The university will secure the campus with additional security and the assistance of the South African Police Service. The campus will be closed until further notice."

The university instructed staff working on the KwaDlangezwa Campus to not report for duty.

It also advised students living in residences on the campus to leave "with immediate effect", saying that students would not be allowed on the campus.

"The Richards Bay Campus remains fully operational and the academic programme continues as per normal on this campus. Staff and students are urged to keep an eye on their emails for updates."

Speaking to News24, student representative council deputy president Ndumiso Ntshangase condemned the damage to property.

"I have to say that is not what we are about. Even if we have grievances, the university property is our own. It should not be damaged."

NSFAS blamed

He said that while the police made many arrests, not all those who were arrested were guilty.

"We are not protecting them, but the people who damaged property are not from here. Not everyone arrested is guilty."

He said students decided to protest after they had not received their meal allowance by 12:00 on Thursday.

"Students were hungry and had to go on strike. Each and every month students receive R1 500 monthly food allowance, but this did not happen yesterday. Students rely on this."

ALSO READ: DUT students deliver demands as staff’s wage deadlock continues

He added that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) crisis had also contributed to the protest action.

"Students all over SA are crying because they are not being approved by NSFAS. Some of the students blame the institution."

Ntshangase said students would support their arrested counterparts when they appeared in court on Friday.

"After that we are willing to go back to the university and sit down with management to resolve the issue."

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Read more on:    durban  |  university protests  |  crime

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