A student has described how she was caught up in the clash between protesters and authorities at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Howard campus on Tuesday afternoon.
Sporting bruises on her elbow‚ Michelle Mchunu ‚ 20‚ a second year music student‚ said security chased her and a few other students to the bushes and hit them with batons.
She said her elbows were injured when she covered her face to protect herself.
The pungent smell and sting of tear gas filled the air at the 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.
Meanwhile at UKZN’s Westville campus‚ where there was also clashes earlier on Tuesday‚ students seated outside the cafeteria said they were angered by the presence of police.
“When students are being raped‚ assaulted and robbed‚ where is the police then? They don’t come‚ yet as soon as they hear of student protests or when students are crying for fees to fall‚ police arrive. Students were shot at while getting out the bus‚” they said.
Another student said they were in their chemistry class when they heard a loud bang.
“We had no idea what was happening. We were asked to leave the lecture room‚” she said.
First year bachelor of science students Slindile Shezi and Truth Mashigo said they were unhappy that lectures have been suspended.
“We were meant to be writing tests tomorrow and doing practicals this week. This is a short semester and we are lagging behind‚” said Mashigo.
Shezi said the work is piling up.
Zama Nzimande said they had missed many practicals.
“We don’t enjoy missing lectures.”