Back to court as CAPTU and NMMU fail to reach agreement over shutdown

OCTOBER 14, 2016

It's back to court after the Concerned Association of Parents and others for Tertiary Education at Universities (CAPTU), an association of disgruntled parents, who recently took the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) to court to force it to end its shutdown of campuses and resume the 2016 academic year, failed to reach an understanding with the university at a mediation held on Thursday afternoon at the Athenaeum, in Central, Port Elizabeth.

The Grahamstown High Court on Tuesday ordered that the NMMU and its various stakeholders, including CAPTU and the protesting students, have until Thursday to find common ground, with the aid of a professional mediator, before the courts can intervene. 

"No meaningful result was obtained at the mediation with NMMU and other interested parties. We will proceed back to court as indicated," said Bertus Griebenow, Member of the CAPTU committee, in a brief statement to concerned parents. 

Ahead of the mediation CAPTU had also raised a few concerns. However, Kobus Gerber, chairperson of CAPTU PE, said that while CAPTU acknowledges the attempt from NMMU to call a mediation, as per the Court Order, they have concerns about the following:

1)     How many representative will each interested group be allowed in the engagement;

2)      Did the NMMU arrange proper safety for all representative’s of each group;

3)     Will other groups be allowed to bring bus loads of support, who will try to intimidate the proceedings - and what will be done to control a fare mediation process; and

4)      What surety has CAPTU got that all proceedings will be as per the NMMU's quote “be strictly and confidential and without prejudice” after "we had firsthand experience of previous intervention which turned into a racial showcase for certain groups". 

"We will take part as per Court Order but want to make it clear that if at any stage proceedings turn into a political meeting we will walk out and as per our right and per your quote 'that any dissatisfied party will be free to leave at any stage provided only that he/she/they engage privately with the mediator first',” said Gerber.

Read the full statement, click HERE.

It was not immediately clear what will happen to the NMMU's earlier threat to shutdown for the year should academic activities not resume in two weeks from the 26th of September. Most likely, that deadline elapses on Friday, the latest.