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NMU to resume classes on Thursday after an eventful few days

Oct 5, 2017
NMU to resume classes on Thursday after an eventful few days

Following lengthy discussions between the Nelson Mandela University management and protesting students, the university announced that an agreement had been reached to resume operations and academic activity on Thursday.

This is after outrage at the rape and stabbing of two women at the university's 2nd Avenue Campus computer lab on Monday night resulted in the South African Students Congress (SASCO) at the Nelson Mandela University lead a student protest that began on Tuesday.

The protesters claimed that security guards were listening to radio and not watching the CCTV camera monitors when the inicident happened and demanded increased campus security.

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, also condemned the crime.

The Democratic Alliance Students Organisation (DASO) on Tuesday also outlined several steps that it said would address security concerns at the university. It also called for and held a night vigil at 2nd Avenue Campus where the incident happened. 

Meanwhile, as students were protesting on Wednesday, men reportedly looking for their girlfriends, fired shots on campus and were later arrested by police

Port Elizabeth police on Wednesdaay afternoon also managed to arrest the man alleged to have raped and stabbed the women along Govan Mbeki Avenue in possession with a computer stolen from the campus computer lab as well as a cell phone that he stole from his 25-year-old victim. He is now expected in court on Friday.

Agreement to resume classes

According to Zandile Mbabela, Media Manager at the Nelson Mandela University, the agreement effectively brings to an end two days of demonstrations by students, who have raised a number of safety and security concerns. 

"The University welcomes the arrest of the alleged perpetrator of the horrific incident that has left the University community reeling. The hope is that the suspect is brought to book and justice is served," she said.

"Mandela University also wishes to condemn an incident earlier this afternoon, during which shots were fired by occupants of a vehicle whose attempt to access South Campus was thwarted, amidst demonstrating students. The University wishes to commend the swift action of law enforcement agencies in apprehending the perpetrators.

"Following this afternoon’s meeting, parties resolved to resume operations and academic activity, while discussions continue on the sidelines to iron out details of the implementation of agreements reached on the safety and security concerns raised."

Mbabela said that this will happen through a Safety and Security task team comprising students and members of the University management team to work on immediate, medium and long-term solutions.

On Tuesday, following the initial meeting during which students raised their concerns, the University agreed to immediately implement the following:

  • Heightening security by increasing the number of staff to undertake visible patrolling across all campuses, including all teaching venues, from now until the end of exams
  • Expanding its partnership with SAPS and the Metro Police so as to attain extra support for our students in and around our campuses, particularly on Second Avenue and Missionvale
  • Improvement of the CCTV monitoring
  • Undertake control checks at entrances, taxi drop-off points and bus stops 
  • Undertake an audit of all the external campus lighting
  • Extending its anti-crime initiatives, including those with the Summerstrand Community Crime Forum, especially towards the establishment of safe on- and off-campus “green routes” that will be monitored and patrolled.

"A number of academic concessions have been made to accommodate students who may have been affected by events of the last two days including the postponement of assessments scheduled for 5 – 6 October," Mbabela added.

"The University remains committed to working towards ensuring the safety of its staff and students and welcomes the move to collectively work on sustainable solutions."