Violence flares up again at UKZN Westville campus

A group of students protesting at UKZN’s Westville campus on Friday, August 17 2018.
A group of students protesting at UKZN’s Westville campus on Friday, August 17 2018.
Image: Thuli Dlamini

Chaos has erupted at the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Westville campus‚ where protesting students have barricaded a road with furniture.

A large contingent of police and armoured vehicles have been deployed onto the campus to control the volatile situation.

Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse a group of students‚ who retaliated by throwing stones at them.

The students are protesting over poor living conditions and security issues at their places of accommodation.

Many of them have complained that they have not received National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding‚ in line with the free tertiary education introduced by former president Jacob Zuma in December last year.

The university had re-opened on Friday but soon degenerated into chaos when students protested again. Students stoned cars as they entered the campus.

Lectures were disrupted earlier this week when protesting students pulled others out of classes‚ forcing university authorities to shut down the institution. UKZN suspended lectures and tests at Westville campus on Tuesday after the protests.

Violence erupted on Monday after protesting students clashed with police and campus security. The protest related to student concerns about the squalor at external residences‚ a lack of Wi-Fi‚ safety issues and meal allowances.

Police arrested 17 students for public violence.

A few hours after the protest on Monday‚ a police explosives unit was deployed to the campus in response to a bomb threat. They found no trace of explosives.

On Tuesday‚ the university announced to staff and students that the academic programme‚ including all tests‚ had been suspended on the Westville campus until Thursday.

University management said it would engage with student leaders to find amicable solutions.

* This is a developing story

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