Update: Divisions among NMMU #FeesMustFall protesters make negotiations harder


Management at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) on Friday apologised for failing to resume classes and operations as promised on Thursday.

“It seems as though a group of students and other individuals who are not registered students or staff members are determined to destabilise the University,” NMMU Acting Vice-Chancellor Dr Sibongile Muthwa, said.

There have been a series of violent incidents throughout the Higher Education sector following Minister’s announcement on Monday.

See media statement from Minister for ease of reference

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

On Tuesday and Wednesday, management tried to engage with the protesting but this also proved to be unsuccessful. No memorandum of demands was handed over by students in Port Elizabeth at these gatherings. The George Student Council did, however, submit a petition.

The student groupings in both Port Elizabeth and George are now completely divided, making engagement and decision-making much more complicated and protracted.

A petition was submitted to the Dr Muthwa, via e-mail by the NMMU SRC just before 11:00 on Friday, but it is not clear whether this represents the concerns of the various student formations.

See statement from NMMU on their stance on the fees increment

 A number of interventions have already been implemented in an attempt to minimise the negative impact of time already lost due to the disruptions.  This includes making alternative arrangements for tests and assignments that were scheduled for 21-23 September 2016. Further communication in this regard will follow from the DVC Teaching and Learning.

“Should our engagement with students prove to be yet again inconclusive, the University will be compelled to implement drastic measures going forward including possibly bringing our academic project to a halt until we can guarantee the safety of all our students and staff,” said Dr Muthwa.