University of KwaZulu-Natal experienced a mini-war at its Howard College, Pietermaritzburg and Westville campuses on Tuesday. The management of the institution was compelled to suspend lectures after the students decided to protest against possible hike in student fees and inadequate accommodation at campuses.
Among other things, the students set alight a library, had a good time destroying campus property and even attacked police with stones.
The police was left with no option but to use rubber bullets to disperse the students.
Reacting to the incident, government appealed for calm at the SA institutions of higher learning. But then, warned that it won’t tolerate the destruction of property and violence.
In a media statement, government noted the resurgence of violent protests in some institutions of higher learning. And, advised students not to participate in activities that may place them in conflict with the law as they protest against fee increase at universities.
“As government we would like to assure South Africans that the matter of student fees is receiving our full attention. We are working together with all parties concerned to find a lasting solution.
Destruction of property and violence during this process cannot be tolerated. Government calls on students to allow the ongoing consultation to be concluded peacefully. We call on student leadership to join the call for the protection of valuable university infrastructure which is part of the common national heritage of all South Africans,” read an excerpt of the media statement.
In furtherance, SA government asserted that education is South Africa’s future. With that, it promised that the Department of Higher Education and Training will soon make an announcement on the matter of student fees.
“Government understands the difficult circumstances faced by many students in the country and is doing everything in its power to resolve the situation.
The 2016 academic year is drawing to a close and students are encouraged to focus on preparations for their final examinations.
South Africa desperately needs the skills of young people who will be able to one day take their place in the South African economy and contribute towards a great destiny,” added the government’s media statement.