Thu, 23 Jan 2020

The University of KwaZulu-Natal Westville campus descended into chaos on Wednesday after more than 100 protesting students burnt furniture and debris.

Central Student Representative Council chairperson Sanele Hlongwa said students were angry over living conditions.

"This was not an SRC, but a student protest. We will be engaging with the aggrieved students and supporting them going forward."

Among their issues were the poor condition of some residences and the exclusion of certain students from writing exams because of previous protests.

In a communique earlier in the day, the university warned students and staff that there would be disruptions.

"The university community is advised to avoid areas of conflict, exercise caution and be vigilant of their safety and surroundings at all times. Students on the Westville Campus are engaged in protest action. There have been attempts to block roads and disrupt lectures."

In a statement, university director for corporate relations Ashton Bodrick said management would engage student leadership to resolve concerns.

"We are committed to restoring peace and stability on campus and ensuring that teaching and learning takes place as scheduled. Risk Management Services and Public Order Policing are currently monitoring the situation."

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane said the protest had begun in the morning.

"They allegedly stoned property and police vehicle. Campus security guards, together with Public Order Police, managed to disperse the crowd. A case of public violence was opened at the Westville police station for investigation.

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