Wednesday, March 13, 2013
This week has been the high point of the continuing strikes at UKZN Howard College Campus with strikers turning on fellow students. A new level of violence has been reached.
On Monday 12/03/13 strikers arrived with branches and metal pipes. One person was stabbed in the arm while others were tear-gassed and as per usual, property of the university was vandalized (Photo of broken facilities attached)
Today, 13/03.13 at 09:05 strikers went into lecture theater S9 (Science Block) and threw a rock at students. One student stood up and confronted them, and others joined him. No physical violence was used by the students even when the strikers got rowdy and violent, trying to lay hands on them. The strikers left and the lecture resumed. About 10 minutes later, the strikers returned with reinforcement, turned the lighting off and began throwing hard objects such as rocks, bottles and dusters at students. One of the strikers wrote the words “FUCK WHITES” on the board due to the fact that the boys who stood up to them happened to be white. It was hastily erased when the class attempted to obtain photographic evidence.
Later on police were on the scene and just after that the ambulance. (Attached is a photo of a victim as well as a photo of the brick thrown at a girl along with her blood) Towards 11am strikers lit fires and gathered outside the law building. (photo attached) They then marched through the cafe, causing students to flee to the front of MTB. Some students were surrounded from the front and back by strikers as police opened fire with Pepper Bullets. Water cannon trucks were brought on site around 12pm and the strike somewhat died down.
As some expressed students said:
“I’m all for a worthy cause, but this is not striking, this is terrorism”
“Welcome to UKZN, where getting a degree is the least of your worries”
“Call of Duty UKZN Opps”
The lecturers and students are constantly issued with an email sent by Mr Charles William Poole, with a colour to identify the strike status. The colour sent out is constantly orange, signifying “that campus unrest may exist but is under control, eg.non-violent disruption of activities by protesters.” This is misleading and students are led to believe that campus is a safe place to come to on that particular day. These emails are followed by attachments that read “2013 Regulations for staff and student gatherings”, “demonstrations, marches or rallies to express demand or grievances”, “2013 campus alert procedures during staff or student unrest”
An email sent from the PR practitioner after today’s violence is attached
Whether those were UKZN students striking or reinforcement found elsewhere, the violence has never been this bad and the university is not using honesty when in contact with its staff or students, putting them in immediate danger, and the violence keeps on growing.