NMMU Alumni Association condemns the burning down of the Alumni Campus Boma

NOVEMBER 7, 2016

The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) Alumni Association Executive Committee recently met to discuss the situation in higher education and in particular the situation at NMMU, especially after a fire destroyed the Alumni Campus Boma on the Summerstrand South Campus on the 20th of October.

Whilst little is known at this stage about this incident and other violence and damage to property at NMMU in recent days, any semblance of intellectual discourse has been diminished and the label of a just cause has been tarnished.

"As an Association, we support free higher education for the poor and advocate for more investment and better management of resources in the entire public education system to ensure that many more school leavers can enter the further and higher education sectors. But we do not support violence, intimidation and damage to property. It cannot be condoned. In particular, we condemn any unlawful act that led to burning down the Alumni Campus Boma," said the NMMU Alumni Association's Executive Committee in a statement.

"We support the collective efforts of the NMMU leadership to find a workable solution and to facilitate the completion of the academic programme for 2016. We appeal to our government and stakeholders to act swiftly and decisively to resolve this impasse amicably and responsibly.

"We exhort our students agitating for a just and equitable funding model for access to higher education to give the process of national dialogue and government intervention a chance whilst preparing for and making a success, against all odds, of the 2016 academic year."

The NMMU Alumni Association said that it believes that all stakeholders must urgently convene pursuant to the development of a more effective and efficient public education and training programme for our country.

"To this end, we call on all who are imbued with the skills and resources to play an active part in whatever capacity to help develop and support our people and our country. It is the duty of all parties to ensure that the hopes and aspirations of individuals and families whether to be admitted to university or to enter the job market are not stymied by obduracy and brinkmanship," the association. 

"As part of our call for support for the poor we ask for efficient administrative systems to ensure that those vulnerable students receive funding, textbooks, accommodation and subsistence timeously. It is of no use being funded but getting resources for essential academic material weeks into the academic programme as happened in some cases.

"The Alumni Association remains committed to providing assistance to students in financial need through the support of our members and friends of the university.

"Our student and graduate attributes should help contribute to creating a more inclusive and just university and society. Violent and criminal acts including damage to property and injury to individuals simply does not fit into the profile of a responsible student, graduate and citizen."

The NMMU Alumni said it is making a rallying call for rebuilding the academy and a resurgence of the spirit "that makes us great as an engaged African university".