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#FeesMustFall

A student has been found guilty and expelled and disciplinary proceedings against several others are continuing in relation to various acts of violence and disruption associated with the #FeesMustFall protests that rocked Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University last year.

The compelling stories of five Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) students struggling for access and to complete their university studies was captured in a photographic documentary booklet, which will form part of an exhibition later this year. 

The latest arson attack on Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University property this weekend is viewed in the most serious light by University authorities. It follows in the wake of two arson attacks in November 2016 which are still under police investigation.

As you know, last year had indeed been a challenging and troubling one for Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in particular, and the higher education system in South Africa as a whole. Much of the second half of 2016 was caught up in a protracted student fee protest campaign that caused major, and near catastrophic loss of academic time for students and staff alike.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) learnt with shock and outrage the news that the Procurement Building on South Campus was petrol bombed on Saturday night, and graffiti about ‘free higher education’ and ‘fees must fall’ painted on the walls of the building. 

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) is gravely concerned by the large number of NSFAS-funded students who have not yet signed their 2016 contracts.

Student Representative Council (SRC) presidents from across the country met with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) this week on student funding matters. A number of resolutions were made in a bid to enable a greater number of students to register in time for the start of lectures.

The bulk of South African universities are starting the 2017 academic year off on a sour financial footing, with more than R2-billion in outstanding fees owed to them.

For Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, the accumulated debt stands at R122.5-million, with R99.3-million of that accrued in 2016 alone. A further breakdown is included hereunder.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s (NMMU) first year students received a sobering welcome to the institution this weekend as vice-chancellor Prof Derrick Swartz highlighted the opportunities, challenges, rights and responsibilities in store over the next few years.

The financial stability of South African universities – Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) included – is under severe threat following the national call for free higher education and the implementation of a 0% fee increase in 2016.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) has, like the majority of South African institutions, announced a fee increase of 8% – effectively taking full advantage of government’s concession to subsidize poor and “missing middle” students for the increase.

“There is power in unity. Indeed, together we can do anything to tackle challenges presented to us and take South Africa forward.”

South African universities are facing challenging times which are compounded by the deteriorating economic climate. 

To assist the university with their #Support4NMMU campaign, General Motors generously donated boxes full of toiletries to needy students at the institution.

 

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) is all set for the 2016 final exams, with the first session having kicked off this morning. The three-week long examination period is the culmination of the University’s student-centred Academic Completion Plan that has enabled students to complete the academic year.

In light of the alterations to Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s normal academic delivery methods – which have resulted in the use of alternate venues for classes and examinations – the University has been granted an order that essentially effects an extension to the existing court interdict. 

ACCESS testing of prospective students to Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) for 2017 is continuing despite the challenges associated with the national #FeesMustFall movement.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) welcomes the decision by a section of the Fees Must Fall movement and its fellow applicants to withdraw its application for a court interdict against the University’s academic completion plan.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) students and staff are gearing up for the final 2016 exams, which will be written over two sessions this year and early next year.

Please be informed of the following examination dates:

November/December 2016 examinations: 25 November - 15 December 2016, inclusive.
January 2017 examinations (including re-examinations): 9 – 24 January 2017, inclusive.
Re-examinations: 9 - 17 February 2017, inclusive.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) welcomes the Grahamstown High Court ruling in its favour, which essentially reaffirms the University’s belief that it had done all it could to meet its obligation towards the successful completion of the academic year.

The implementation of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s (NMMU) Academic completion programme for 2016 continues in earnest.  Students are continuing to receive Faculty-specific plans and guidelines as well as related support material. 

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) welcomes the arrest of a suspect in the case of rape of two of our students earlier this month. This was brought to our attention earlier today by through a statement released by the Police.

Nelson Mandela Bay cares.

That’s the early verdict of a call to the metro to get behind Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in helping its students to complete their academic year.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s multi-layered academic completion strategy to help its students complete the 2016 academic year is underway.

In a recent ground breaking announcement, four of South Africa’s largest mobile Internet Service Providers, Cell C, MTN, Vodacom and Telkom, indicated that they will waiver any costs associated with data being used to access university websites in South Africa until the end of 2016.
The court mandated mediation process that has been running for the last few days has not yielded the desired outcome.
The court-mandated mediation process has not yet been concluded. As a result, classes at NMMU remain suspended. We will communicate further tomorrow. 
 
Communication and Stakeholder Liaison
 
The mediation has reached a point at which the issues mediated need to be presented at a mass meeting, which the FMF movement is arranging tomorrow (26 October). Classes will remain suspended for the day.

Once again, thank you for your patience and resilience.
A volunteer campaign to support Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) students in completing their academic year – Support4NMMU – is being launched virtually today.
The court ordered mediation process is to continue tomorrow, Tuesday 25 October. As such, classes will be suspended for a further day, in order to reach essential agreements.

MEDIATION PROCESS – UPDATE FOR 24 OCTOBER 2016

In keeping with the official mediation process ordered by the High Court and in efforts to restore normalcy, the university has been engaged in protracted negotiations with the student leadership.

The events witnessed and experienced during the past week at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) go against everything the University stands for, and everything it has wished to avoid.
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s (NMMU) valiant attempts to resume the academic programme and salvage what is left of the 2016 academic year this week were thwarted by ongoing protests and resultant clashes with police.
A second case of suspected arson has been reported and is under investigation by the police. Last night, the Campus Boma was completely gutted and the cause of the fire is as yet unclear.

Staff and student update – 21 October 9am

The North Campus entrance is open. You are allowed to park in the main parking lot or alternatively park off campus.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) has valiantly tried to resume classes and continue with academic work this week. However, circumstances on the ground made this extremely difficult – with ongoing student protests and subsequent clashes with members of the South African Police Service (SAPS).

The main springboard for the student attacks is from the Madiba Shirt area and has moved from the back of the university towards the front of South Campus.
UPDATE 19 October
19/10/2016
The last two days at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) have been more difficult than anticipated. This follows the institution’s decision to resume the academic programme this week.
In light of the confusion around what is presently happening on our campuses, it is important that we remind ourselves how we got where we are as Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU).
SIX students at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) have been arrested to date this morning.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) remains committed to completing the academic year in spite of the many challenges it faced with today’s resumption of classes.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) operations and academic preparations for the resumption of class tomorrow proceeded satisfactorily across all six campuses in Port Elizabeth and George today.

Below is a record of NMMU's engagements and responses to the demands of the #FeesMustFall movement for your interest.

As excited as staff and students are to finally complete the 2016 academic, NMMU recognises that many are anxious about their safety.

Dear parents and care-givers

After four weeks of disruptions, intensive engagements with key stakeholders and a court-ordered mediation process to end the shutdown, I am pleased to share that operations will resume at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) tomorrow and classes on Tuesday.

Court order
15/10/2016
Herewith, a copy of the court order stipulating the rules around the resumption of operations at NMMU on Monday, 17 and Tuesday 18 October 2016.

After four weeks of disruption, intensive engagements with key stakeholders and a court-ordered mediation process to end the shutdown, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) is pleased to announce the resumption of operations on Monday, 17 October 2016.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) Council, at its meeting on 14 October 2016,notes that South Africa’s Bill of Rights of 1993 (section 29) states that all citizens have the right to further (and higher) education, which the State, through reasonable measures, must make progressively available and accessible.

The High Court has tasked NMMU with appointing an independent mediator to engage all stakeholders to resolve the impasse that led to the closure of the University in mid-September. Yesterday’s agreement, which was made an order of court, requires the University to engage all stakeholders in a mediation process – including the various student formations and parents.
NMMU remains closed
10/10/2016

NMMU remains closed until further notice. 

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) had decided to resume operations today (Friday 7 October), with classes starting on Monday (10 October).

 

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) supports the call to widen access to quality higher education for academically deserving, financially needy students.  Every opportunity to engage with students and various stakeholders to resolve the deadlock relating to the #FeesMustFall demands has been explored.

In line with Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s commitment to complete the academic year, the University is focusing on its readiness for the resumption of classes.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) is critically aware of the impact that the present situation in the higher education sector is continuing to have on our staff, students and their families.

As a result of intensive multi-stakeholder engagement, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) is actively exploring student-friendly academic recovery plans to minimise the impact of time lost as a result of the shutdown.

Address by President Jacob Zuma at the Multi-Stakeholder Forum on the crisis in Universities, Emperors Palace, Kempton Park.

Below is a statement of the Justice, Crime Prevention & Security Cluster (JCPS) on the situation at institutions of higher learning.

The need to address the funding crunch, the resultant need for substantial financial aid particularly for students from poor and the so-called “missing middle” families, which has in turn inspired the local and national “free higher education” campaign, has been under intense discussion country-wide

Classes and other academic activities remain suspended at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU).  

In light of the present uncertainty across the sector nationally, here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions relating specifically to various issues and challenges at NMMU.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) sincerely hopes that classes will resume and that the 2016 academic year will be completed as planned.  Management is continuing to engage at both institutional and national levels to move beyond the present impasse.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University sincerely apologises that university operations have been disrupted in spite of our best efforts to prevent this.

The higher education sector has been facing protest action since Minister Blade Nzimande’s announcement was made a week ago (Monday, 19 September) in respect of fees for 2017.

Below are the four memoranda received from four student formations at NMMU being the SRC, the George Campus Student Council, the student FMF coalition in PE and the FMF movement on the George Campus.

Management at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) acknowledges receipt of petitions submitted by various student formations in Port Elizabeth and George.  After reading the various petitions, we are of the opinion that the cause for quality, affordable higher education for academically-deserving poor and so-called “missing middle” students is noble and just. NMMU will continue to call on all sectors of society to invest more in higher education to ensure that universities can continue to provide quality teaching, research, and holistic support for our students.

The University has now received four different petitions from various student formations, the latest of which was handed over at a mass meeting in the Kraal at lunch-time today. Management will be working through the various demands to provide a response to students by Monday.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University management sincerely apologises that university operations did not resume today in spite of our best efforts to ensure that this would be possible.

Students have blocked the entrances to several campuses this morning. Therefore, the University remains inaccessible.  The protesting students are yet to give Management their petition of demands. NMMU is monitoring the situation and will advise on the next course of action.

NELSON Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) supports the call to widen access to higher education for academically deserving poor and “missing middle” students. No such students should be denied the opportunity of pursuing tertiary studies as a result of socio-economic circumstances.

Management’s attempts at engaging with students today have proven inconclusive. As such, we do not believe that resuming University operations for the next two days will be a viable option.

All staff and students at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) are advised to stay off all campuses, including George and Missionvale, today due to student protests in line with a national call to shut down all universities.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) welcomes Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande’s announcement today, which essentially gives universities direction in dealing with the university fee issue going forward.

Minister Nzimande Hopeful of Successful Conclusion To Consultations on 2017 University Fees, Calls For Continuing Patience from All Sides.

The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, says he is hopeful that his current consultations with all stakeholders on 2017 university fees will conclude successfully, with an announcement in this regard expected to be made in mid September this year.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s (NMMU) Faculty of Education is hosting this year’s Mandela Legacy Lecture, with distinguished scholar Prof Catherine Odora-Hoppers to deliver the main lecture under the topical theme “Decolonizing Higher Education in South Africa” this week.