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By News24 Wire

Wire Service

UKZN goes on the offensive as more buildings burnt

UKZN vice-chancellor Professor Nana Poku says the violence that continues is not random.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) said everything necessary would be done to bring the perpetrators to book after yet another building was torched on Wednesday evening at its Edgewood campus.

“My, and my management’s resolve, is undiminished in the face of this appalling provocation. The actions of the perpetrators can never be justified against the ideals of this university,” said vice-chancellor Professor Nana Poku.

“Premier Sihle Zikalala has offered to assist us with a specialist forensic team and additional police and investigative resources to root out the parasitic criminal elements within our midst,” he said, adding that the university was more determined to end criminality on campus.

The campus was abuzz on Wednesday night after the fire raged while onlookers watched.

Poku said the incident took place after “weeks of careful and honest negotiations between management and student leadership in a bid to restore normality to the university”.

“There had been no disruptions or protests in recent weeks; and the protest that we had, though highly hyperbolic and destructive, was mercifully short-lived (a little over a week of the academic programme was lost).”

However, he said the violence that continued was not random.

“There remain factions within the university determined to turn the clock back – to make corrupt practices, parasitic behaviour and mired systems work for individuals and groups at the expense of UKZN’s mission.”

Poku said they took this as a sign of attack.

“We recognise that this cowardly attack on the infrastructure of the university is intended to intimidate us – to make us lose our resolve and to deflect us from initiating sweeping reforms to ensure the institution’s sustainability, and heighten its national and international standing.”

He added: “Craven cowardice will continue to be met with forthright honesty and renewed determination to serve all members of the UKZN community.”

The university has seen a surge of violence since last month, with protesters burning property on Westville and Pietermaritzburg campuses.

They have also burnt their mattresses and fridges, and blocked roads leading in an out of the university

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