Gugu Myeni
2 minute read
28 Mar 2020
6:44 pm

Foreign students arrested at UniZulu for trespassing before lockdown

Gugu Myeni

The students had forcefully occupied locked residences ‘with a nonchalant and flippant attitude’, says university spokesperson.

University of Zululand. Picture: Supplied

The University of Zululand (Unizulu) has refuted claims by a group of international students, who say they have been left stranded after being evicted from their on-campus residence amid the nationwide lockdown, reports Zululand Observer.

Speaking on behalf of the students, a member of the Unizulu International Students Organisation, who did not want to be named, said ten of the students were arrested on Thursday and charged with trespassing.

‘They met with the Dean of Students on Thursday morning but after failing to reach an agreement on accommodation ahead of the lockdown, they requested to meet the vice-chancellor.

“Before a meeting could be confirmed, however, the dean returned in the afternoon with police to evict the students and they were taken to the Mtunzini police station,” the spokesperson said.

University spokesperson Gcina Nhleko said the students had forcefully occupied locked residences “with a nonchalant and flippant attitude”.

“The university closed its KwaDlangezwa campus on 2 March. The decision taken was as a result of violent student protests.

“Some students continued with violent protest action in defiance of a High Court ruling prohibiting them from doing so. A directive was then issued to students to vacate university residences on the afternoon of 2 March,” Nhleko said.

“Those students who remained on campus after this date did so in defiance of a lawful instruction issued by the university management,” she said.

After refusing to vacate the premises, a case of trespassing and damage to property was opened.

“Nevertheless, in an effort to assist some of the foreign students who could not travel to their countries, the Dean of Students had arranged off-campus accommodation. Despite these efforts, the students in question decided to move back to the main campus in defiance of the directives.

“Following a police operation which led to their arrest, it became evident that the residence was being used to harbour couples in some instances. A pregnant woman who is not a student was also reportedly taken into custody with the other students.

“The university had taken a decision to assist the students by contacting their embassies in light of the pending lockdown. After initially agreeing to cooperate, the students made themselves unavailable when the transport arrived,” Nhleko said.

The students have, however, been released on R500 bail each and will again appear in court in April.

“They have found accommodation in various homes until the lockdown ends and the university reopens,” said the member of the International Students Organisation.

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