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This article appeared in the Weekend Post of 1 October 2016.

WHILE uncertainty surrounds the reopening of NMMU, there is a growing call by students, parents and staff for lectures to resume despite the impasse.

But many still support the #FeesMustFall movement in the city which is now rallying behind a national call for free education.

There have been no lectures at NMMU since Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande announced that universities must determine their own fee increases for 2017, but not exceed 8%.

Christine Landman, a concerned parent, said she was extremely disappointed with the shutdown of NMMU.

“The university has allowed a small minority of students to infringe on the rights of law-abiding students without any thought of the view of the vast majority.”

Landman declined to name her son, who studies at NMMU.

“As a parent I am devastated. My son does not have the time to prolong his course. We have to think about the repercussions for everyone involved.”

She said the #FeesMustFall movement wanted to disrupt the entire education system. “An entire generation will be affected.”

Bunono Sindi, 20, a second-year human settlements development student, said: “I am worried. I do support the protest and what these students are fighting for but I do not support the shutdown.

“I think there are other ways of going about this and the students who want to study are not being listened to.”

A NMMU staff member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said university management had a plan. “They know what they are doing. They have their reasons for not opening the university. They are trying to ensure the safety of staff and students.”

She said it was clear the vast majority of students wanted the university reopened.

“They are keeping us posted via emails so at least there is constant communication. I am concerned about my son though, as he is a student,” she said.

Masixole Njumbuxa, 24, a third-year BCom Law student, said he was frustrated but realised the shutdown was for a good cause.

“I basically have one month left with one test and one exam. People who can pay varsity fees should pay but those who cannot afford to pay should not be forced to make debt they will have to pay off their entire lives.”

He said while his graduation could possibly be postponed, he believed the students should continue the shutdown until their demands had been met.

“This is a revolution and in every revolution there are casualties. We have to continue because of the good that will come of it. We all need this.”

Meanwhile, the Council of the Cape Law Society said it had resolved to use its resources to establish a team of mediators in order to offer services to resolve the impasse.

The society’s president Ashraf Mahomed said: “Should there be acceptance of the offer, we intend convening a meeting under the auspices of the CLS in the next few days to draw up an agenda and plan of action for the mediation process.” 

Contact information
Mrs Debbie Derry
Deputy Director: Communication
Tel: 041 504 3057