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SASCO gives NMU 48 hours to respond to demands, to march on City Hall

May 4, 2018
SASCO gives NMU 48 hours to respond to demands, to march on City Hall

The South African Students Congress (SASCO) at the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth on Thursday gave the Nelson Mandela University 48 hours to respond to its memorandum of demands and also announced that it will be marching on the City Hall to engage Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, on Friday morning.

SASCO on Wednesday announced that it was mobilising students to immediately go on a mass protest as of the 02nd of May 2018, until further notice.

"Nelson Mandela University’s executive management members received a formal petition from the SRC at a meeting this afternoon, to which the University has committed to respond to within 48 hours," said Zandile Mbabela, Media Manager - Communication and Stakeholder Liaison.  

"The ongoing engagements with student leaders, unions, divisional heads, managers and deans is intended to ensure the situation at the University is normalised as quickly as possible." 

She, however, said that staff and students are reminded that the interdictremains in force.

"The interdict is aimed at protecting the rights of all the University’s internal stakeholders – those who wish to access the University to work and pursue their studies as well as those wishing to exercise their right to protest in accordance with the conditions stipulated in the interdict," Mbabela said. 

"Staff and students are advised that all university operations will continue unless they are informed otherwise. Staff and student cards are to be carried at all times."

In its statement, SASCO said that it remains committed on its historical mission of uniting all students behind a democratic, Non-racial and Non-sexist education system. 

On Allowances

The South African Students Congress said that it is very happy to announce to students that the struggle of allowances at last has been won.

"After a mass action and vigorous engagements, the university agreed to allocate meals to all students who are qualifying for NSFAS with the defined criteria by NSFAS and the university. Book allowances, meals allowances and travelling allowances will be allocated to students via Intellimali to all the above mentioned students," the organisation said.

"The Finance staff have committed itself in working over time making sure that meals are allocated from tomorrow and allocate book allowances by Monday

"The South African Students Congress wants to caution all students to keep looking at their accounts and we also want to tell students that we should not lose our energies till we see these allowances appearing in the accounts."

Academic recovery

The South African Students Congress adds that it understands the conditions that students have been subjected to for the past few months "and we want to commit ourselves in responding directly to those issues".

"We understand that there are some students who have missed their academic commitments because of the mass action and there are some students who have failed their test 1 because they had no study material and meals. We have engaged the university to move all academic commitments to next week and give students sufficient time to prepare for their tests after receiving their allowances," it described.

"This is informed by the fact that as SASCO we believe that no student will ever be able to excel academically without academic support."

SASCO further argued that students who have failed their tests because they had no study material should be allowed to write the make-up test that will be written by other students.

"This is the only way that students can be able to recover their lost academic work as a result of the conditions they were facing."

On Shuttle Service

SASCO said it holds a view that the shuttle service is very close to collapsing and a turnaround strategy would be necessary to rescue the situation.

"The South African Students Congress presented the crisis to the university and proposed possible solutions to the university management. The management took the point to their special MANCO meeting and they committed to respond back to us within 48 hours," it described.

"All off-campus students should not relax and they should wait for the signal from SASCO. SASCO wants to assure all students that no student will be left behind when going to attend their academic commitments."

Safety and security

The South African Students Congress said that it raised sharply the issues of safety and security for all staff and students "because we believe that students are an easy target for criminals and if little attention is paid, they will be victimized".

"We want to state it categorically clear that we will not allow the victimization of students and the abuse of young black females by criminals and if the university allows this to continue, we will fight to the bitter end.

"SASCO further reminded the university that Mr Derick have reached his retirement age, he must be given his package and go play with his grand children at home. We gave the university 48 hours to give us a solution on how they are going to release the man," it addded.

"The university welcomed the arguments and committed itself in reconvening the safety and security committee and the university declared that the matter of Mr Outgoing is in the VC’s office for attendance."

On Residences

SASCO raised its concerns with the treatment of students in different off-campus residences and the unbecoming and really disgusting behavior of the landlords.

"We sharply raised the matter of exorbitant fees and rates that our students are subjected to by the municipality and demanded that the university march with us to the office of the mayor," the student organisation said.

"The living conditions of students in these off-campus accommodations are really not conducive for the living and learning program, students shower with cold water, students don’t not have study rooms and labs. In some residences students are forced to pay extra money on top for some unknown operations."

The University management committed on visiting all student accommodations together with the SRC to attend all concerns raised by students.

On the March to the Mayor

The South African Students Congress called on all students, staff members and community members to join its march to the office of the mayor on Friday.

"We are submitting a memorandum of demands to the mayor with regards to issues that affect the students in the municipality."

Buses will leave campuses and other stops from 09:30 to town where all forces will converge and embark on a march.

"We note the attempts from the opposition of trying to claim easy victories through bogus mass meetings. Actually the opposition is trying to defocus us from marching to the mayor, we have seen their statuses on facebook trying to demobilize students not to attend the protest. The opposition have been dead for some time, they are trying to wake up now through lies," SASCO said.

"We want to call on all opposition parties to come join the struggle instead of playing petty politics and trying to claim easy victories.