DURBAN- Six vehicles were torched at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Westville campus overnight after protests, which initially erupted at the Pietermaritzburg and Howard College campuses on Monday. The students were protesting against possible fees hikes and inadequate accommodation at campuses.
Police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane confirmed the incident, but could not immediately provide further details. Zwane said that police had arrested 13 people during the Howard College campus protests.
According to sources at the university, which has five campuses in KwaZulu-Natal, three of the burnt cars belong to the institution while the others are owned by two security companies. The vehicles were torched right outside the university’s Risk Management Centre, which is responsible for the institution’s security.
University spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said in a statement released earlier on Monday, that student protests had been dispersed by university security, police and the police’s Public Order Policing Units.
“Students are urged to follow established protocols and raise any issue of concern with their respective SRC representatives. The University is committed to engaging with students to address their grievances,” Seshoka said.
He said that the university had obtained a High Court Interdict, which prohibits unlawful protests, disruptive gatherings, demonstrations, mass action, intimidation or any violent act to persons or property at the entrance and premises of University campuses.
Seshoka said that security at the university had been beefed up in a bid to prevent any further disruptions to the academic programme.
Social media platforms Twitter and Facebook were awash with reports of shots being fired at the Pietermaritzburg campus and roads being blocked off. However, this could not be independent verified.
– African News Agency (ANA)