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Nelson Mandela University laid charges against protesting students

Apr 17, 2019
Nelson Mandela University laid charges against protesting students

South African Students Congress leads protest at Nelson Mandela University 

Port Elizabeth - The Nelson Mandela University (NMU) on Wednesday morning said that it had laid charges against protesting students at the Humewood Police Station in Port Elizabeth while university management was expected to meet to discuss the students' grievances.

"The University is aware of disruptions to classes and various intimidating messages being circulated. Please do not heed these messages as these are not official University communication," the NMU posted on Twitter.

"Protesting students are advised to desist from blocking University entrances and engaging in acts of intimidation to disrupt classes and operations.

"Management is currently reading the interdict to protesting students, following which it will be enacted."



On Wednesday morning, the South African Students Congress (SASCO) warned that all vehicle owners move their cars off-campus.

 On Tuesday, the student organisation said that students were sleeping outside at the Nelson Mandela University; have no allowances while those that graduated did not get their certificates.

It added that the university's shuttles system is chaotic and students were still waiting for a new residence to be built to ease accommodation problems.

"We have given the university time to fix things. Our students can't be treated like this," SASCO posted on its Facebok page.

 NMU provided update on registration 

On Tuesday, the NMU said that nearly 2 000 students, who were unable to register for various reasons – ranging from a lack of funding to poor academic performance – were given a second chance at access to university tuition through a number of concessions by Nelson Mandela University.

It said that last month, the University established a Clearing House, the mandate of which was to:

  • Review the list submitted by students against the institutionally approved 2019 concessions
  • Filter and recommend to the appeals committee cases viewed as justifiably requiring consideration
  • Actively deal and escalate to appropriate structures for resolution and implementation bottlenecks
  • Provide feedback through the Finance and Student Accounts departments to students who have applied for concessions.

"A total 1756 students, including more than 300 whose individual cases were assessed and dealt with by the Clearing House, were allowed registration through the various concessions," the NMU added.

"These concessions see students being granted a certain status – such as Zero Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and Missing Middle – upon meeting the applicable criteria to enable them to register.

"This is in line with the University’s continued efforts towards widening access to higher education, particularly to poor and academically deserving students. A large number of students who have met the qualifying criteria have been assisted through these concessions over the years, and continue to do so."

The university said that work of the Clearing House has been a resounding success, with 309 students out of about 420 who were on the lists submitted by student leaders, having been afforded a chance to register and continue with their studies.

"To further assist these students, the Financial Aid office has requested the National Students’ Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to re-consider its decision to discontinue funding these students.

"It should be noted, however, that the University is not solely committed to ensuring the access of academically deserving students, but also their success. The University cannot grant students access while seeing that it may not lead to their ultimate success," it described.

"It is for this reason that some of the cases dealt with by the Clearing House saw appealing students – some of whom lost out on funding for repeated poor academic performance – referred to the relevant channels to assist in identifying career paths specifically geared for them and to enable their success."

The NMU said that to date, a total 28 650 students have been registered, which is up 4% on last year’s 27 541 at the same time. The late registration process concluded on 15 March.


The University’s on-campus residences are full to capacity.

"Accredited off-campus accommodation is meant for funded or self-paying students, as the University does not own the residences and thus cannot enforce its internal concessions on service providers," it added.

"About 120 students who were without accommodation for various reasons were granted access to on-campus residences. There are a number of students who remain unfunded after their appeals were unsuccessful for various reasons, such as poor academic performance.

"The University remains committed in its resolve to ensure no academically deserving, financially needy student is left behind. As such, we continue to do everything possible to ensure such students are granted access to higher education by actively calling on the relevant stakeholders for the requisite assistance."

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