NMMU says it will open for classes despite violent clashes on Tuesday
Despite the chaotic scenes witnessed at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) on Tuesday, when it expected classes to resume after a month-long #FeesMustFall shutdown, the university says it remains committed to completing the academic year.
"The University is resolute in its intention to restore normalcy. After four weeks of shutdown, the time available to salvage what remains of the 2016 academic year is dwindling and this puts the future of many of our students at risk. In light of this, staff and students are advised that classes and University operations will continue tomorrow [Wednesday]," it said.
"A number of classes did resume on some of our campuses although there were some reports of disruptions today [Tuesday]."
Safety on campuses
The NMMU said that the safety of its staff and students remains its priority "and, based on our experience today, various measures have been put in place to improve security".
"The presence of police on NMMU’s campuses is part of a national directive by government to the South African Police Service (SAPS) to protect property and maintain law and order at all universities in the country," the university said.
"Unfortunately, today there was a standoff when the police attempted to direct protesting students to designated protest areas.
"NMMU has received complaints of excessive use of force by police, particularly regarding their entry into a student residence. We have engaged the police with regards to these concerns."
Damage to property
Given the burning of the Xanadu/Melodi clubhouse on South Campus on Sunday night, and two bush fires on the same campus today, the municipal fire services remained at the NMMU overnight.
Investigations are underway to determine the cause of these incidents.
Court interdict and mediation
The NMMU obtained a court order on 15 October 2016 to protect the rights of those, who wish to access the University to pursue their studies, while allowing for the right to protest in solidarity with national concerns provided this is done in accordance with the conditions stipulated in the interdict.
"The mediation process that was ordered by the High Court is ongoing. Engagement has always been NMMU’s preferred means of seeking solutions," the university said.
"We encourage the University community to be mindful that these challenges are not unique to NMMU and are being experienced by universities throughout the country. We appreciate the positive contributions and suggestions made by many of our stakeholders towards seeing the academic year through to completion," the university said.
"We call on our staff, students and their families to join us in persevering with courage and resilience."
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