40 NMMU students arrested in 3 days

2016-10-19 19:28
Fire at NMMU (Facebook)

Fire at NMMU (Facebook)

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Port Elizabeth- Forty students have been arrested during clashes with police since the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) announced it was reopening its doors on Monday.

The university said it would reopen its doors on Monday for lecturers and staff, in preparation for classes to resume on Tuesday morning.

It obtained a court order prohibiting students from preventing those who wished to study from gaining access to campuses.

In response, the NMMU Fees Must Fall movement said the university had acted in bad faith. It intended to ensure that campuses remained closed.  

During the early hours of Monday, the Xanadu Melody clubhouse on the main campus was set alight. On Tuesday morning, about 300 protesters once again blocked the entrance to NMMU main campus. Police used stun grenades, a water cannon, teargas, and rubber bullets to disperse them.

The protesters then moved onto campus where running battles between them and police ensued. Students threw rocks and other projectiles onto police from residences roofs.

Later on Tuesday, students set fire to the veld between Embezweni and the residences on South campus. The veld is protected as part of a nature reserve on campus.

On Wednesday morning, protesters once again began disrupting proceedings on campus. Police moved in and dispersed them. Over the course of the day, 31 students were arrested at the main campus. On Tuesday, one student was arrested on the main campus and eight on the George campus.

The NMMU went to court on Tuesday to seek an order to reinstate the mediation between students and staff.

NMMU spokesperson Zandile Mbabela said for four weeks during the shutdown, the institution held talks with different student groups about their demands, in a bid to resume the academic programme.

The university met all but two of their six demands: The national call for free, quality, decolonised higher education; and clearance of all debt for students who qualified for debt and down-payment relief in 2016.

NMMU was unable to meet the first demand as it was a national issue, but it had agreed to “deploy resources” to help achieve this goal, Mbabela said.

The institution had invited student representatives to work in a task team to find sustainable solutions to the debt issue.

"There is therefore no reason why the present disruptions should be happening," she said.

 

Read more on:    nmmu  |  port elizabeth  |  university fees  |  university protests

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