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UKZ denies claims of live ammunition used on protesting students

Tensions have been at boiling point this week, with parts of a law library and several cars being torched.

FILE: A vandalised building at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN.

DURBAN - The University of KwaZulu-Natal management says claims on social media that live ammunition has been used by private security on protesting students are false.

Vice chancellor Dr Albert van Jaarsveld held a briefing at the institutions Westville campus yesterday where he gave an update on negotiations with students in a bid resolve the current dispute over a possible fee increment among other things.

SRC leaders from the various campuses say the executive management is divided, which is part of the reason why demonstrations at the university escalated.

Tensions have been at boiling point this week, with parts of a law library and several cars being torched.

Van Jaarsveld says reports of live ammunition being used are false.

"The executive management at the UKZN would like to correct this information that has been circulated on social media and reports by some media houses."

But the Marikana Support Campaign's Rehad Desai says the confusion may have been caused because the type of guns used to shoot rubber bullets now have a higher velocity which penetrates the skin more.

"These are the same rubber bullets which are being fired at students, as we saw images on social media, which penetrated the leg of one of the female students."

WATCH: UKZN vice chancellor sets the record straight on protests

The university also clarified reports of a rape at their Pietermaritzburg campus saying it was a sexual assault allegedly by a South African Police Service officer off campus.

Meanwhile, management also says the SRC will have an opportunity to send five representatives to the next council meeting later this month.

Van Jaarsveld says the delegation will not include the SRC president and secretary as they are already on the UKZN council.

"We are fully aware that this issue is a statute matter and even if the council was to take a decision on the matter, the final approval lies with the minister of higher education. This is because the university derives its existence from the Higher Education Act."

He says there has been no decision on fee increments at the university and they awaiting guidance from the national government.

Classes at all UKZN campuses are expected to resume on 20 September.