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UKZN On Fire With Protests

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For two weeks, students of UKZN have not seen a proper day of learning due to ongoing protests. The University claims that the academic programme is continuing, hours after a war broke out between students and security. 

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What started out as students' cries for free registration and the expulsion of the historic debt rule has now become violent attacks on building, staff and students and even security companies. This morning saw a battle between students and a security company hired by the university. Workers were being disrupted, rocks were thrown and fires were being started. 

At the Westville Campus, students protest action saw three entrances being blocked and violence begun. MI7, a security company, was called upon by the university and to retaliate, students were seen throwing rocks at security guards as well as wanting to intimidate guards and damage their vehicle. Reportedly, students were engaging in further violent behaviour as a way of returning the actions of security guards. These guards were seen throwing rocks back at students, firing rubber bullets and teargas and even, reportedly, going as far as adding to the already present fires.

The University has communicated that the academic programme continues since Monday. However, protest action persists. Staff are concerned about their own safety during these protests and have also lodged complaints to the University. 

In addition to the disruptions between students and security guards, a varsity gym, mattresses and fridges were set alight as well and the situation on campus was being described as a war zone with some students fearing that this is what their tertiary education has come to. 

Westville SRC Chairperson, Sifiso Malema told NEws24, "I want to state that we do not condone any violence. This morning was not us. We do, however, want the university council to meet with us. They are resuming the academic programme, but we have not resolved our issues."

The situation is now calm with police monitoring the campuses. 

Read News24's full article here

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