Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University is preparing for the resumption of academic activity this week, after a four-week long shutdown emanating from the national #FeesMustFall calls for free higher education for the poor.
After four weeks of intensive engagements with key stakeholders and a court-ordered mediation process to end the shutdown that had seen some disruption across all NMMU campuses, the University is pleased to announce the resumption of staff operations today, 17 October 2016, and the resumption of classes the following day.
The nationwide university protests had taken a violent turn at some institutions and, while NMMU did not suffer the same fate, the university appreciates that staff and students may be anxious about their safety as a result of what they have witnessed at other universities around the country.
NMMU has sought to avoid the use of force that has seen an escalation of violence throughout the higher education sector in South Africa.
Through a national directive by government to the South African Police Services (SAPS), police were ordered to be present at all university campuses and NMMU is no exception to this directive.
Last week, in response to legal action brought by some parents seeking to compel the University to re-open, NMMU agreed to a court-mandated mediation process. Unfortunately, this process was inconclusive for reasons beyond the control of the University.
After careful consideration of the remaining options, and in order to resolve the situation with minimal harm to our publics and property, University management decided to seek an interdict.
By means of this interdict, as well as the agreements reached with the various student formations during the shutdown, NMMU is hoping for a peaceful resumption of the 2016 academic year this wee.
As indicated in the statement of the University Council released on 14 October 2016, there is no basis in our Constitution and law for the campus blockades preventing students and staff from exercising their legal rights to access the University.
Students have a right to strive for any cause as long as this does not impair the equal rights of others to gain access to the University.
Given that the issues within NMMU’s control have been resolved, there is no lawful reason for the 2016 academic year not to resume.
Students involved in the #FeesMustFall protests are therefore encouraged to return to class to resume their studies, while continuing to work towards the aspiration of free, decolonised, quality higher education.
NMMU remains convinced that the militarisation of its campuses and the use of force are to be avoided as far as possible. We therefore strongly appeal to all students, staff and parents to conduct themselves in a way that ensures the peaceful resumption of University operations and academic activities.
The following two tabs change content below.