WATCH | Protesting Unizulu students torch police van

Students at the University of Zululand (Unizulu) main campus in Ongoye, northern KwaZulu-Natal, embarked on violent protest action and torched a police vehicle on Monday.

The situation in the area is believed to be extremely volatile as protesting students have blockaded roads around the campus and are reportedly stoning vehicles along the R102.

A police officer at the scene told SowetanLIVE's sister publication TimesLIVE they were searching for members who may have been in the police van when students hurled a petrol bomb at the vehicle.

“The situation is bad. Protesting students burnt a police van. We are trying to locate the members who were in the vehicle. Students are throwing stones at cars and people. Students have petrol bombs and are waiting on the side of the road for any police vehicle deployed to the area.” 

It is understood public order police members have been sent to the area.

Unizulu spokesperson Gcina Nhelko said students embarked on violent protests on Sunday night which spilt over into Monday morning.

“There was a lot of activity last night (Sunday). Containers and vendor areas on the campus were burnt. We are monitoring the situation.” 

A container at Unizulu's main campus was burned on Sunday
A container at Unizulu's main campus was burned on Sunday
Image: Supplied

She said student protests were centred on  the release of National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funds.

“Most of the concerns are around NSFAS issues pertaining to various allowances, as well as the interpretations of what they should be receiving.”

Nhelko said NSFAS was a centralised process.

“The university gets responses from NSFAS about students who can be funded, and once funds are depleted, nothing can be allocated.”

She said this did not bode well for the students, most of whom were financially needy.

“Lectures have not yet been suspended and will resume until further notice,” she said.

Unizulu student representatives council administrator Bongumusa Makhoba could not be reached for comment.

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