The NMMU Vice Chancellor informed colleagues and students via email today the NMMU was verbally informed about the intentions “of an organised section of the student community to disrupt academic and other activities at NMMU today”, last night after a group of students purporting to represent student organisations, including DASO, SASCO, EFFSC indicated that they would be staging protests on campuses in support of various institutional demands and as part of a national drive to ‘shutdown’ universities.
“It should be noted that no attempt was made to follow University rules regarding protest action, including guarantees of the safety of others not partaking in protest and university property, and none of the existing channels of negotiation and consultation had been fully utilised or exhausted,” continued Schwartz.
Students and staff have been advised to exercise due caution in moving between and on campuses where access is permissible.
NMMU commited to meet with student leaders to listen to and deliberate over their grievances once stability is established.
“While NMMU fully upholds and respects the right to peacefully protest and to freedom of expression as this is enshrined in our Constitution, it also protects the equal rights of others not participating in protest against intimidation and from exercising their inalienable rights. It is for this reason that we live in a Constitutional democracy,” said Schwartz.
In a statement SRC President, Hlomela Bucwa thanked NMMU students for their patience and standing by students across the country who have been protesting due to fee-increments.
Bucwa said; “The SRC acknowledges the fact that management has delayed their response to our proposal which has resulted in the delay in the outcome of fee-negotiations. As such I have called for an urgent meeting today at 2:30pm with top management in the absence of the VC, who is currently in Cape Town, to respond to our request of a no increase. The SRC will advocate for no increase and should the fees increase due to inflation, the SRC demands that the percentage increase does not affect registration/initial payment.”
“Education is the conerstone of liberation and finances remain an intergral part in accessing institutions of higher learning. As such we call on all students of NMMU to come together in support of all those who are affected by an increase in fees. Sometimes an issue might not affect you but we all have a responsibility to ensure that no student who is deserving is excluded whether academically nor financially. For far too long we have been silent while students walk into our doors with dreams and aspirations and leave with no degree and a debt. If we want to see change it starts with us, we must unite under one banner #FeesMustFall #NoStudentLeftBehind,” said Hlomela.
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