NMMU preparing for resumption of classes despite #FeesMustFall shutdown

OCTOBER 5, 2016

Although no date for the resumption of classes has been decided, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) on Wednesday said that it is preparing for students to return to classes to conclude the 2016 academic year.

"In line with the NMMU’s commitment to complete the academic year, the University is focusing on its readiness for the resumption of classes," it said, adding that this is in terms of cleaning, administrative and academic needs, especially since the University has not been operational for more than two weeks.

The preparations include:

  • Timetabling and exam planning; 
  • Admissions for 2017;
  • Finance and procurement processing;
  • A range of student support activities such as cleaning, catering, student allowances, student counselling and Campus Health services;
  • Student housing, including accredited off-campus accommodation; and
  • Maintenance services.

#FeesMustFall protests broke out on the 19th of September across the country after the Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, recommended an 8% fee increment for affording students.

The shutdown at the NMMU is now in its third week and the university, last week, stated that if students do not return to class next week, it will be forced to shut down for the 2016 academic year.

That will effectively mean that students will have to repeat the year again in 2017 – a particularly stressful prospect, especially for paying parents as well as international students.

The NMMU released a list of responses to Frequently Asked Questions relating specifically to various issues and challenges at the university. Click here > FAQS

Several efforts to resolve the impasse at the NMMU have failed.

Different groups - different agendas

Preventing the speedy resolution to the impasse at the institution is that divisions have since emerged among the protesting students.

Various student groupings, including the Student Representative Council (SRC), initially formed a coalition to collectively voice their concerns in relation to the announcement, but were divided in their approach.

However, by the 21st of September, it emerged that the SRC was no longer part of the coalition. At the end of the week, the  NMMU had actually received petitions from four different student formations in Port Elizabeth and George, and responded to each by last Sunday evening.

Below are the four memoranda received from four student formations at NMMU being the SRC, the George Campus Student Council, the student FMF coalition in PE and the FMF movement on the George Campus.

The NMMU has held meetings with student formations. The SRC also recently held a public meeting at the city hall where things did not go so well.