Vandals stone and burn varsity buildings
TWO lecture halls at the University of Zululand were burnt down when unknown people went on the rampage and stoned the offices of the students representative council and of the SA Students Congress.
A specialist library and satellite security guard room were also vandalised.
Tensions are high at the institution after the outcome of recent SRC elections which were won by Sasco.
The ANC-aligned Sasco recorded a landslide victory after the IFP-aligned South African Democratic Students Movement (Sadesmo) was penalised for failing to submit its list of candidates before the closing date.
Sadesmo subsequently lost the elections.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) advised management to declare the election "null and void" after Sadesmo had sought legal advice opposing the outcome.
Sowetan has learnt that the vandalising of the university's property is linked to "the students' frustration after management failed to take a decision over the election outcome".
A university source told Sowetan yesterday on condition of anonymity that a meeting was held between dean of students Mandla Hlongwane and student leaders on Tuesdayafternoon.
"Hlongwane had proposed that all student organisations, including political and social ones, be represented in the SRC because there would be no further elections.
"We have close to 50 societies," the source said.
In a letter circulated to the students, Hlongwane indicated that it was no longer feasible to hold elections and proposed that all political organisations, religious and other societies, form an interim students representative alliance to represent students in all of the university's governance structures until the SRC elections impasse was resolved.
Sasco branch chairperson Xolani Memela said they were very disappointed by the act of criminality happening at the institution.
"We are still waiting for management to take a decision over the election. Sasco has filed papers in court to force management to fast-track the process. Students must obey the law," he said.
Memela said they were worried that if there was no SRC at the university, students would face huge problems at registration time next year.
"We are not clear on how the alliance will operate or how representatives will be chosen," Memela added.
University spokesperson Shalo Mbatha confirmed that a number of properties were vandalised.
"Management is in a crisis meeting. We will be able to give the extent of damage after the meeting," Mbatha said.