UKZN protests: Management says 'every effort' is being made to recover academic year

"Every effort" is being made to recover the academic year at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) after last week's violent protests at its Westville campus, the institution's management has assured.

University spokesperson Normah Zondo said management would continue to engage with student leadership in an effort to resolve the students' grievances.

"Students are encouraged to continue with their academic obligations at home. Every effort will be made to recover the academic year," she said.

While the situation was calm on Monday, the academic programme was again suspended at the troubled campus.

The aim of the suspension was to "continue to engage with students without interruptions" following Friday's violent protest at the campus.

"A group of students barricaded roads, damaged property and disrupted lectures on Friday. The university is in the process of assessing damage," Zondo said.

Police said the university's furniture and some doors had been damaged during the protest over amenities in certain student residences, problems with WiFi connection, matters of academic exclusion, the shuttle services timetable, and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) administration.

Two security guard houses were also set alight.

The students used different objects, including furniture, to block off the main road between the Oval and the P Block residences. They also used stones to pelt security officials.

READ: 12 more students arrested on UKZN's Westville campus

Water cannons and teargas were used to disperse the protesting students.

Twelve students were arrested for public violence on Friday and 17 were arrested for the same charge on Monday. Another student was arrested on Tuesday.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson in KZN Natasha Kara, told News24 that students who were arrested before Friday had appeared in the Pinetown Magistrate's Court last week and were released on R500 bail.

They are expected to be back in court on September 19, Kara added.

It was not immediately known whether the 12 students arrested on Friday had appeared in court on Monday.