The pungent smell and sting of tear gas filled the air at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Howard campus on Tuesday afternoon as public order police clashed with protesters.
Police fired teargas and shot rubber bullets at students‚ who fled to safety as protesters left a trail of destruction on the campus.
One woman‚ Bongeka Mntaka‚ was shot in the left knee and was carried off by fellow students‚ sparking rumours that police were using live ammunition. Police on the scene‚ however‚ denied they were using live shots.
Students said they were yanked out of the Pius Langa residences and shot at while others hung out from the residence windows taunting police to come and get them.
Students told TMG Digital that they are protesting about a proposed 8% fee increase.
Student leadership were not present at the campus. A group of students said they went to bail out 13 students who were arrested on Monday in connection with previous clashes at the campus.
The Senate building and six vehicles outside the Westville campus were set alight at about midnight. Spokesman for the university Lesiba Seshoka said students were arrested following the burning. “The damages run into a couple of millions of rands.”
Student protests also turned violent at the Howard college campus and Pietermaritzburg campus with the stoning of property and barricading of roads.
The torching and unrest comes exactly a year after protest action and fires at the campus in September last year‚ which caused an estimated R80 million in damages.