UFS, NMMU suspend academic activities

Johannesburg – The University of the Free State and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University on Tuesday suspended all academic activities due to ongoing protests.

Attempts to hold talks with students on Tuesday were inconclusive, acting NMMU vice-chancellor Sibongile Muthwa said.

“We do not believe that resuming university operations for the next two days will be a viable option,” she said. 

The suspension would allow management to talk to students about Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande’s fee increase announcement on Monday.

Essential services such as cleaning, catering, security, and campus health would continue for those students living in on-campus residences.

Academic activities at the UFS were suspended until September 26. 

UFS students on Tuesday vowed to continue putting pressure on the government and the institution until their demands for free education were met. 

Meanwhile, University of Stellenbosch students damaged property and assaulted fellow students and members of staff on Monday and Tuesday, the institution said in a statement.

It would however not close its doors.

Vice-chancellor Wim de Villiers said they had tried to ensure that academic work continued with minimal disruptions.

He said SU supported fee-free higher education for poor students. 

“Ideally, this should be the case for all students, but it is not feasible in the current economic climate without a substantial additional investment from government,” he said.

SU intended to ensure that academically deserving students should not be excluded from higher education due to a lack of money. In 2015 it provided R658m to help students, according to their annual household income.

De Villiers said the disruption of classes, tests and other university activities was unacceptable and they would take disciplinary action against those involved. 

Where classes had been disrupted, lectures would be recorded and made available on the university’s online portal, SUNLearn. 

 

 

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