Second semester kicks off in ernest at NMMU after two-day shutdown

JULY 13, 2016

Lectures and all related academic activities resumed on Wednesday after a two-day shutdown that began on Monday with a South African Students Congress (SASCO) led protest over "issues that affect the general student populace‚ children of the working class in particular‚ and exploited workers at the university in relation to the #FeesMustFall campaign of last year".

A quick survey on Wednesday morning revealed no incidents as students eased back into the academic year.

"Protection services staff have returned to their work stations, including the boom gate entrances to all campuses, to support the hosting of this afternoon’s examinations taking place at 4.30pm as originally planned," the university said on Tuesday afternoon after giving in to some of the protesters' demands.

"As communicated earlier, given the particular unsatisfactory circumstances of the past two days, students scheduled to write today have been given the option of writing on Saturday instead. Details regarding Saturday’s times and venues will still be communicated. Tomorrow’s exam is going ahead as planned. Those who write tomorrow, however, do not have the option of writing on Saturday."

The institution said that transport was already in place on Tuesday afternoon and like all other support services, expects to be back to full capacity from Wednesday.

"For information regarding part-time lectures this evening, we suggest that you consult your lecturers directly, if you have not already heard from them.

"We’d like to take this opportunity to thank you once again for your patience and support. We appreciate that not knowing whether it is safe to come to work or whether you are able to write exams is highly inconvenient and that it also impacts on your wellbeing," it said.

"It has been a trying two days of uncertainty and for this we humbly apologise."

On Tuesday, SASCO handed over a memorandum of demands to NMMU mamagement noting that there were outstanding issues as follows:

1. All students that have outstanding debts/rentals must be allowed back to residences both on and off-campus.
2. Students that were supposed to write exams must be given an option to write or have their DP as final mark.
3. Students must be given an option to write today/tomorrow or Saturday.
4. The DVC of teaching and learning must be given an early package.

"Without being disturbed and misdirected by a small illegitimate grouping lead by some Nicholas Nyathi, we have indeed made many strides through our mass action," SASCO celebrated in a statement.

"We are again reminded of the power of collective action and the power of the peoples camp. The leadership of SASCO will be sitting a meeting later today [Tuesday]. A product of this meeting will be a statement that will record all resolutions and provide a way forward. 

"We would like to assure all students that they can now relax, because SASCO is in charge!"