UKZN Westville campus closed after violence

Classes suspended to ensure safety of students and staff, says management

Photo of an overturned car

A car was overturned on the UKZN Westville campus during student protests today. Photo: Nomfundo Xolo

By Nomfundo Xolo

10 October 2016

Teaching at UKZN’s Westville and Howard College campuses has been suspended until further notice after protests at the Westville campus today.

According to university management, classes have been suspended in an effort to restore calm and ensure safety of students and staff.

This afternoon the campus was littered with bottles, rocks, toilets and appliances including microwaves and refrigerators, after violent protests earlier today. A car had been overturned.

Student Sandile Thabethe said: “This is how we can be heard, the institution will clearly not take us seriously any other way. We will fight this fight until free, decolonised education in universities exists. I’m not protesting because I don’t want to be in class. I am protesting because I want to be in class, for free.”

Management issued a statement warning students against engaging in unlawful protest action.

One student who asked not to be named, said that: “The way things are going we aren’t going to be able to complete this academic year and all the hard work students have put it will be in vain. No fees does not seem realistic at this point, and demolishing property is not the answer. I cannot afford to lose this year, it’s my last year,” she said.

EThekwini metro police spokesman Superintendent Sbonelo Mchunu said police had been on campus since early this morning. He said students who had thrown rocks at police and damaged property “will soon be identified, as this cannot be tolerated.”