JOHANNESBURG, March 13 – Lectures have resumed at the University of Zululand after two weeks closure and suspension of academic activities following a violent strike by students at KwaDlangezwa Campus, north of KwaZulu-Natal.
The university closed down its Dlangezwa Campus on 1 March after students went on a rampage, burning buildings including the bookshop and a police van, demanding the release of meal and transport allowances. More than 30 students were arrested, some of whom were later released on R1,000 bail each.
Management has since set stringent conditions for students to return to campus and their residences, including beefing up security and an undertaking by students not to engage in any illegal protest action that could jeopardize peace and security on the campus.
Students will not be permitted to enter the campus or residence if their student cards are not reactivated, and they will be compelled to produce their student card at the behest of any security officers or other staff members.
The university said that students who are subject to criminal proceedings and are barred by the court from entering the campus or the residences would not be allowed to return. Residences were reopened on Monday for on-campus students while lectures will resume on Wednesday.
“The university also recognizes that not all students participated nor endorsed the conduct of the striking students. It is suspected that the criminal conduct was propagated by dissenting students, intent on causing irreparable harm to the university,” it said in a statement.
“The university has suffered extensive physical and financial losses, but none more so than the potential loss of an academic semester, by innocent non-striking students. The university is committed to ensuring that the recent unfortunate events do not compromise the 2018 academic programme.”
The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education has committed to enhancing its oversight responsibility of the university until the institution was functioning normally, saying that the department had to intervene immediately.