The headlines made by UKZN are an unfortunate result of disgruntled students. The protest was initially against fee increment but has now turned into a fight against the police’s and Campus Security’s response to the protest.
It is unfortunate that there are institutions which fail to rationally consider the views and position of students. The police and security brutality on the 5th and 6th of September was improper and wrongful conduct that was allegedly sanctioned by the institution. SLSJ condemns the apartheid style policing that have been witnessed across UKZN campuses. Even more appalling is the report of a police official allegedly raping a student. There must be a proper investigation into these allegations. The SLSJ laments the fact that the officers of SAPS and the Mi7 have conducted themselves so poorly in executing their duties.
However, in as much as the burning of the institution’s infrastructure is a response from disgruntled students, it is nonetheless an unacceptable response. Burning buildings, no matter how legitimate the reason, can never be condoned. It makes a mockery of the movement against fee increments and police brutality. The burning of William O’Brien Exam venue at the PMB campus and the Howard College Law Library did not signify the destruction of colonial structures – it was an un-pragmatic leap by the students involved.
With the safety of the students, staff and property of the institution in mind, we call on the university to ensure that there is proper policing with no unwarranted use of violence. Students ought not to be sent to the institution if it is not safe. A learning environment smoked with tear gas is not conducive to health and proper learning.
SLSJ stands firm in its condemnation of police brutality and reckless burning of buildings and remains staunchly in solidarity with the #FeesMustFall movement and the fight against police brutality.
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