Protests rock UKZN and the East Rand

DURBAN – PROTESTS  erupted  at  three of the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s campuses on Thursday with at least one person  hospitalised  and another arrested.

University spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said  they did know the reasons behind the protests , which were staged at the university’s Westville and Edgewood campuses in Durban, as well as the Pietermaritzburg campus.

“We are unaware of the reasons for the protests as these students have not raised their concerns through the correct channels.” said police spokesman Colonel Jay Naicker  adding that a case of public violence had been opened.

He said a 24-year-old student had been apprehended by the university’s security and was expected to appear in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court once he had been charged.

“SAPS, university risk management services and the public order policing are present and monitoring the situation on campus and  are still trying  to disperse the protesters.

He said meetings were being held with the Students’ Representative Council  to try

and resolve the situation.

Lectures had not been formally suspended by the university, but some lectures were cancelled by academics as a response to the disruption.

About 100 students protested at the Edgewood and Westville campuses, while protest numbers varied between 30 and 70 students during the course of the day at the Pietermaritzburg campus.

Seshoka said: “The university has obtained a high court interdict and restraining order protecting the university against unlawful protests, disruptive gatherings, demonstrations, mass action, intimidation or any violent act to persons or property at the entrance and premises of university campuses.

“We reserve the right to take appropriate action on any student or person who is in breach of the interdict.”

According to the university, a student who was taking photographs of the protesters was attacked by a protesting student.

University security intervened and apprehended the attacker, but the victim suffered an epileptic seizure and had to be rushed to hospital.

One staff member was reportedly injured at the Westville campus when stones and rocks were thrown at a building on campus.

There was some damage to buildings as well as vehicles.

Meanwhile residents of Daveyton, on the East Rand, placed rocks on the roads and burnt tyres during a protest on Thursday, the Ekurhuleni metro police said.

“They started at midnight at Xhosa section. Those responsible run away whenever they see officers approaching…. At this stage, we do not know why they are protesting,” said Inspector Kobeli Mokheseng.

At least five streets were blocked and no vehicles were moving in or out of the affected area, said Mokheseng. –  Sapa