Police disperse protesting students at the University of Zululand
The police were called in to disperse a group of protesting students who set tyres alight outside the University of Zululand, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, on Monday morning.
The protest comes as the EFF Students Command and the South African Students Congress (Sasco) called for a shutdown of universities on Monday.
Universities throughout SA are bracing for a national shutdown as protests over fees gain momentum.
Unizulu spokesperson Gcina Nhleko said the entrance to the main campus in Richards Bay had been blocked “but police have assisted with dispersing the crowd”.
Nkosinathi Sibiya, president-elect of Unizulu's student representative council, told TimesLIVE that the body supported Sasco's call for a national shutdown.
“We will do anything to protect our academic rights,” he said.
“I am of the view that education remains a right in South Africa and no-one has an audacity to turn it into a commodity. Sasco remains an advocate of free and quality education, hence we are calling for the University of Zululand to clear all students to be able to register despite the historical debts on their account.
“This is based on the fact that students are poor and they should never be crucified for that. This is not just a personal issue, rather it is a systematic issue that seeks to exclude and exploits the black child.
“Further to that we have many issues, [including] the university failing to roll out the online learning systems. However, it continues to undermine students and to gamble with their academic life, as it is continuing to enforce e-learning even when these students cannot fully participate in the teaching and learning process.
“That is why we call for the university to bring back students to campus so that the teaching and learning is not compromised,” said Sibiya.
Meanwhile, the University of KwaZulu-Natal announced on Monday morning that it had suspended its academic programme for the week.
“After thoughtful consideration of the ongoing dialogue between national government and the various bodies representing student formations in South Africa, we have decided to suspend the academic programme for the coming week, that is, from Monday March 15 until Friday March 19, both dates inclusive,” it said in a statement.
“Remote online registration for 2021 will, however, continue for all returning students and first-entry undergraduates.
“University management will inform staff and students on the dates for recommencement of the semester.”