Police are monitoring a picket at the Nelson Mandela University on Thursday after the institution invoked an interdict over how students can raise concerns over funding and accommodation.
"They are standing at the entrance and have blocked up the entrance. There are no burning barricades, just tree branches and stones blocking the road," said spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu.
The university announced on Wednesday that it had obtained a final interdict from the High Court on June 19 last year, and decided to invoke it in light of the latest pickets.
"The main purpose of the interdict is to protect the rights and safety of those who wish to access the university to work or pursue their studies, whilst also allowing for the right to protest in accordance with the conditions set out in the interdict," the university stated.
In terms of the interdict, picketers may not interfere with, obstruct or disrupt university and academic activity; damage property; contravene university rules or intimidate other students or staff.
The university also announced that lectures would not take place on Thursday due to the protests over student funding and accommodation.
A public lecture with Professor Evgeny Pashentsev, a communications specialist, was also cancelled and staff were encouraged to work off-campus.
Essential services staff were to continue work if possible.
Staff and students, the start of lectures this morning have been postponed until further notice. Dean of Teaching and Learning— Mandela University (@MandelaUni) March 7, 2019
The SA Students Congress (Sasco) said in a statement that it was concerned about delays in finalising accommodation for students, particularly women whose safety they are worried about, and for funding to come through for students still waiting.
"Sasco NMU has taken a decision to go on a protest action after various consultation with the management on regards to student registration, safety and security and accommodation crises," Sasco stated.
It said that first tests were approaching and there were students who would be disadvantaged or miss the tests.
Comment was not immediately available from the university, but according to updates on its Twitter timeline, students were encouraged to continue with their academic work and, where necessary, make contact with their lecturers.
[WATCH] Protesting students have barricaded entry into the NMU's South Campus in Port Elizabeth. pic.twitter.com/ZfK1Y7Vul9— Kwanele Mketeni (@KwaneleMketeni) March 7, 2019