UKZN Crisis Continues
UKZN crisis on campus continues as students engage in the burning of buildings and destruction of vehicles. Student's concerns have turned into violent demands with majority of their campuses affected.
It has been a rather tumultuous week for UKZN which saw multiple buildings being torched, cars being vandalised as well as ensuing protests with increasing numbers in protestors. Four out of five of UKZN's campuses have been affected. At the Pietermaritzburg Campus, cars were being hit by protestors throwing stones and bottles. At the Howard Campus it was seen that an exam center and HIV support center was torched as well as a gymnasium and mobile office being affected at the Westville Campus.
Continuing concerns pertaining registration and fees, among others, has students waging their war against the university. There are 16000 students who are unable to register and are financially excluded. Student demands include having the rules pertaining historical fee debt and financial exclusion being terminated in order to be able to register. However, in response to this, UKZN has a reported student debt amounting to R1.7 billion. With all demands made by students to universities, in general, it is found that those very demands being met would lead to a negative effect on the long term attainment of the institutions.
The South African Union of Students (SAUS) has released a statement condemning the violence and have commented that, "As a union we condemn this violence and are concerned with what seems to be growing acts of irrationality and barbarism from individuals who masquerade as student activist championing student issues." They have also commented that students should be aware that protesting for these problems on campus does not directly translate to them having the right to partake in activities that do not align with the law.
Universities' measures of dealing with the various cases of protest and violence have also been called into question, with SAUS claiming that private security has been seen harassing and egging students on. Therefore, SAUS has stated that private security should not be used and if a need for crowd control arises, SAPS should take charge of those actions. Students have also demanded an investigation into the issues to be called and to hold those involved and guilty accountable.
Students are not being given the answers they want and according to Daily Vox, "there has been consultations taking place with management but he said the executive management does not want to take decisions" which only has students wanting to engage in further violence.
UKZN has suspended it's academic programme until the 7th of February and will resume on Monday, the 10th of February.
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