NWU Mahikeng campus to remain closed until mid-November

Johannesburg - The North West University's Mahikeng campus will remain closed until November 15 and those still on campus have been urged to leave immediately, the institution said on Thursday.

"Students are still encouraged to leave the campus," spokesperson Louis Jacobs said. "Those students who remain on campus will do so at their own risk."

The decision to keep the campus closed was made by the university's management and the campus's student representative council (SRC), Jacobs said.

On Wednesday, Jacobs said the campus had been under siege by protesting students since October 21 [last Wednesday], and that management and staff had been locked out of the university's grounds.

"Considerable damage had been done to facilities on campus which must now be repaired to ensure that examinations can begin on Monday, November 2 2015," Jacobs said at the time.

On Thursday, however, it was announced that examinations would no longer begin on November 2 at the campus.

"Students on the Mahikeng campus will only start with their examinations on November 16 and will continue until December 8 2015.

"The second opportunity will be written from January 11 to 22 2016."

Call for NWU council to adopt Zuma's fee ruling

Students at the Potchefstroom and the Vaal Triangle campuses would stick to the original starting date of November 2, Jacobs said.

On Monday, Jacobs told News24 protesting students and police had clashed twice off the Mahikeng campus, part of continuing student protests against rising university fees in certain parts of the country.

According to SABC News, Monday morning's clashes saw police use rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse students, who reportedly threw stones at cars passing near the university.

Mahikeng campus SRC president, Benz Mabengwane, told the broadcaster students were calling for the university to adopt the president’s ruling.

"Although the president has made an announcement we must all know that actually there is what we call institutional autonomy," said Mabengwane.

This meant that the council of the university still needed to decide whether it would align itself with President Jacob Zuma's decision to implement a 0% fee increase for the 2016 academic year.

"That is why we have not stopped with our protests, we are still continuing and we will ensure that we never rest until the council has also confirmed that they are going to align with the decision of the president."

Zuma made the announcement on Friday, following over a week of protests by students at campuses across South Africa.

The protests were sparked at Wits University the week before after students demonstrated against a proposed 10.5% fee hike by the institution for 2016.

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