CAPTU following chaos at NMMU before deciding on next move


As the situation remains tense at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), after violence broke out on Tuesday morning when it had planned to resume the 2016 academic year, the Concerned Association of Parents and others for Tertiary Education at Universities (CAPTU), an association of disgruntled parents, who recently took the NMMU to court to force it to end its shutdown, said that it was monitoring developments.

CAPTU had on Monday said that it would not be pursuing court action against the NMMU after parties failed to reach an agreement at a mediation on Thursdaysince the university had indicated that it would re-open, which was what CAPTU wanted in the first place.

"The situation at NMMU is very dynamic and in a state of flux," described Sloan Wilson, from Sloan Wilson Attorneys and Conveyancers, in a email to parents.

"I, together with CAPTU management committee members, Kobus Gerber (chairman) and Bertus Griebenow were at the South Campus during the course of the morning and there were some incidents of violence. 

"It is impossible to determine what the outcome will be and we can only suggest that you monitor the situation via the media, NMMU communiques and social media."

Wilson said that regarding the CAPTU application in the Grahamstown High Court, the application "was further postponed today by agreement until Thursday (20 October 2016) to enable us to monitor the situation and developments at NMMU and assess whether or not the NMMU is able to enforce the interdict, which it obtained against the various groups [who include CAPTU and the protesting students] (Respondents)".

"The members of the management committee and myself will be holding a teleconference with Attorney Brin Brody and Advocate Smuts this afternoon at 16:00 to discuss the situation at the campuses and the way forward," said Wilson.

Violence breaks out

Early on Wednesday morning, what was meant to be the resumption of classes after a month-long shutown, turned violent as #FeesMustFall students prevented any access to the NMMU's main campuses.

Police then used a water cannon and tearsgas to disperse the students, who pelted them with stones.

The students then moved to the South Campus' Embizweni building, after apparently hearing that a fire had broken out at the Xanadu residence building after a stun grenade was allegedly thrown into the building.

NMMU management attempted to engage with the students that had gathered in front of the Embizweni building, but could not get the students' cooperation.

Police again used teargas and stun grenades to disperse the students. That was when a fire had broken out in the Nature Reserve right next to the building.

It is unclear as to the cause of the fire but there were claims that it was caused by a stun grenade.

Students then made their way towards the nearby Sanlam Student Village (SSV) and were again chased by a water cannon and police firing rubber bullets.

Efforts by the students to keep the gate to the SSV closed failed as a police van rammed through the gate.

Meanwhile another fire had erupted across the road from NMMU North campus.