Education dept to address WSU crisis

2013-08-29 07:30
(Picture: Walter Sisulu University)

(Picture: Walter Sisulu University)

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Outrage as university shuts doors

2013-08-28 09:23

Hundreds of people have protested in the Eastern Cape after The Walter Sisulu University announced it will shut its doors. Watch. WATCH

Pretoria - Walter Sisulu University's closure because of labour problems will be addressed by higher education and training director general Gwebinkundla Qonde in Pretoria on Thursday.

In announcing the indefinite closure on Tuesday, university administrator Lourens van Staden said the volatile situation unfolding had made it impossible for management to risk or to guarantee the safety and well-being of students.

On Wednesday, police fired rubber bullets to disperse protesting students at the Butterworth campus.

University spokesperson Angela Church said 12 students were injured in the protest.

"The students clashed with the police after they were told to vacate the university by Wednesday," said Church.

University management then gave students an extension until Friday to leave.

PAC calls for solidarity protest

The Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) and its student wing the Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania (Pasma) in Gauteng called for a solidarity protest.

"We are disgusted by the brutality of unleashing state police against innocent and peaceful students," spokesperson Justice Digashu said in a statement.

He said 16 students - seven women and nine men - were arrested at the Ibika campus next to Butterworth, and claimed that scores of other students were shot with rubber bullets.

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande's unwillingness to intervene in the labour dispute had compelled students to join the workers in their action, said Digashu.

He demanded a speedy resolution so they go back to class.

He said a solidarity march had been planned to the Union Buildings, in Pretoria, on Friday.

Detrimental effect on students

Meanwhile, the ANC Youth League says the salary dispute will have a detrimental effect on the future of the students.

"There has been no learning and teaching for over three months now, which means effectively no academic activity has taken place in the second semester of 2013," said spokesperson Bandile Masuku.

He said the department of higher education and university management had failed to resolve the salary dispute which was currently in the labour court.

"WSU, like many historically disadvantaged universities, even post mergers, have been plunged into a permanent state of paralysis and crises, most being run by university administrators."

Masuku said the ANCYL called on the parties involved to speedily resolve the dispute as it was not in the best interest of the students.

Read more on:    walter sisulu university  |  east london  |  education  |  protests  |  labour

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