Students continue to march at UKZN, protesting against rape and police violence

A group of women students gathered from 7am at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s campus in Pietermaritzburg to march against rape, the police and private security. The protest came after allegations emerged that a student had been raped by police on Monday night .

Dressed in black, the students carried placards that declared their demands: “Stop rape”, “No to police abuse against women” and “My body my choice”. Videos and images of students being violently harmed went viral on social media as the campus shut down. Students say they had been peacefully protesting when police surrounded the campus and fired teargas on campus grounds, including inside student residences.

The news that a student had been raped in a gym on the campus grounds by a police officer shocked both students and lecturers. Pumelela Nqelenga, a drama lecturer at UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus, yesterday posted on Facebook that she had met a student who had said she was raped by a police officer. In her post, Nqelenga said that the officer was the driver of a police van and the student had noted the vehicle’s licence number.

Despite criticism of the police’s use of force and concerns raised about the alleged rape, a student told the Mail & Guardian that, “late last night [Tuesday night], police even came in with dogs”. On Wednesday morning, students decided to protest against rape and violence from police and private security on campus.

As the students gathered together after they marched, one stood in front of the crowd with a loudhailer to read out theit list of demands. The university must respond to the demands today, students said. The list specifies of concerns the students want addressed immediately.


“We demand an end to the [tear] gassing of students, the shooting and beating of students. The use of force against unarmed nonviolent students must end,” a student read from the memorandum.

“We demand that the police and security forces stay out of student residences in terms of section 14 [of the Constitution] — our right to privacy,” she continued.

A student at the protest provided the following video to the M&G, which includes the full list of immediate demands:

The students also said they want the private security officers from Mi7 to be immediately removed from campus and that the university has until the close of business today (Wednesday 7) to respond.

“We cannot continue living in an environment where our constitutionally entrenched rights are being violated by the people entrusted to enforce them,” the student said.

The memorandum was handed over to the cluster commander of SAPS for the region.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Raeesa Pather
Raeesa Pather
Ra’eesa Pather is a Cape Town-based general news and features journalist.
Advertising

Eskom refers employees suspected of contracts graft for criminal investigations

The struggling power utility has updated Parliament on investigations into contracts where more than R4-billion was lost in overpayments

Locally built ventilators ready in two weeks as Covid cases...

The companies making the non-invasive devices, which will create jobs and are cheaper than other types, include car and diving manufacturers
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday