I'm afraid to go outside - UKZN students stuck in PMB residences

Protesting students set entrances on fire

We can't leave - UKZN students stuck in PMB residences

22 September 2016

Pietermaritzburg - University of KwaZulu-Natal students unwilling to embark on strike action on Thursday are trapped in residences as riot police skirmish with protesters.

Striking students set fire to entrances at the William O'Brien men's residence in Pietermaritzburg, and used furniture to blockade the entrance to the Malherbe men's residence.

Running battles with police were also reported.

A student, speaking to News24 on condition of anonymity, said he was afraid to venture outside.

"I am not striking but the ones that... live with us [are]. We can't leave."

He said that entrances were blockaded at 06:00.

"They blocked the entrances and started burning them. The fires are out now but I am afraid to go outside," the student added.

On Wednesday the university cautioned “rogue perpetrators” in the student body, after a voice note warning of a protest and mass destruction at Durban’s Howard College Campus was circulated.

“We are also aware of some rogue perpetrators who are using social media platforms to threaten violent protest action and intimidate students to keep away from campus,” the university said in a statement.

The inflammatory remarks included threats to shut down campus, mass destruction and stopping students from finishing their degrees.

“We caution students to guard against making defamatory comments, spreading misinformation and inciting violence in any form. Incidents of this nature are being investigated and people found guilty will be brought to book,” it said.

The SRC is expected to adopt an official plan of action on Thursday morning, after consultation with their leadership and students.

Several universities around the country have suspended activities after higher education Minister Blade Nzimande announced a recommended fee increase capped at 8%.

Nzimande also announced that poor students and students whose families earned less than R600 000 a year would not have their fees increased for the second year running.

Students falling outside these categories would have to wait to see what increase individual universities decided on.

This article first appeared on News24, see here