Dec 4, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

UKZN students protest against ‘filthy’ residences after cleaners suspended

Students protesting at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) Westville campus on Tuesday claimed that the apartments had not been cleaned since cleaning staff were suspended a week ago.

“Cleaners were suspended last week for demanding medical assistance and apartments have not been cleaned since. The trash cans haven’t been emptied and we’re dealing with the stench of all that trash,” said a fourth-year BCom student who sits on the O-Block dorm committee.

A student from the Das Hills forest Residence House Committee said the university should not have fired staff without taking temporary action.

“They should have taken action before they got rid of the cleaners. However, these measures should not include contract workers who only come here once or twice a week. Who do we report to if our belongings are lost because the workers are going to the contractor, not the university?” he said.

Cleaning and gardening staff received precautionary suspension letters on Wednesday “Participating in an illegal strike and unauthorized absence”.

According to the letter viewed by TimesLIVE, employees were involved in both of these activities between May 27 and 31.

However, staff told TimesLIVE that the letter did not reflect the true events.

Cleaner Lungi Sikhosana said it took staff two hours after work on May 28 to deliver a memorandum.< /p>

“Our supervisor and manager can confirm this. I don’t know where they got the other four days from. We had sent out emails with our complaints, but we never received a reply, so we gathered to deliver our memorandum directly. Next we were told we were going on strike.”

She said her grievances revolved around medical help and pay increases that were promised after five years.

“With the medical help we got, we’re not getting medical help, we were told we didn’t have any funds in our [accounts].

“We’re also getting paid in notes, so we were promised that we’d be upgraded to a would have higher grades after five years, but they have not complied.”

UKZN management said it was aware of protests at some of its campuses.

“In the early hours of this morning, incidents involving the destruction of property, two tractors and a shipping container were reported on the Edgewood campus. Protests and property demolitions were reported on the Westville campus this morning,” said UKZN spokeswoman Normah Zondo.

She said there were no disruptions to online teaching and learning given the university’s learning program.

“The situation on both campuses is quiet.”

Zondo said the police and the University-appointed security services are Monitoring the situation across all campuses to ensure the safety of staff, students and property.

The university management condemns all criminal behavior, including property damage and threats to employees and students. The university continues to work with students through recognized structures that can deal with their grievances.”

Support independent journalism by subscribing to theSunday Times. Only 20 R for the first month.