Activities have been halted at two Eastern Cape institutions of higher learning due to protests. The Walter Sisulu University has reported disruptions to the institution and damage to property, which led to the suspension of all operational activities.

Nelson Mandela University’s main campus entrance in Gqeberha has also been closed by protesting students. The students are protesting over a range of issues including NSFAS allowance, admissions and registration-related matters.

All activities at WSU campuses remain suspended:

Three Walter Sisulu University campuses, Mthatha, Butterworth and Buffalo City remain closed, as students have vowed to intensify their protest action if their demands are not met. They have given the institution until Friday to respond to their demands.

WSU SRC president Vuyo Langeni says, “We want to go to class and therefore, our timeframes can’t be long. We can’t stand delays in answers. We went to strike on Monday, and saying ‘answer (us) by Friday, come to the negotiating table and give us something we can work with. Allow students to register by Friday. If you do not do that, we will declare an institutional shutdown, the whole of WSU will not operate.”

NMU main campus protests

Meanwhile, Nelson Mandela University’s main campus entrance in Gqeberha has also been closed by protesting students.

The students are protesting over a range of issues including NSFAS allowance, admissions and registration-related matters.

One of the student leaders Pontsho Hlongwane explains, “We are confronted with a situation where senior students are not yet registered and it says they are still waiting for clearance SMSes from university. And the university is saying they are waiting for a list of those particular students from NSFAS to confirm whether they are funded.  So we are experiencing that dilemma to say that classes are continuing and as much as classes are continuing late registration is continuing, students are frustrated and they are panicking.”

Student protests at Mandela Bay University continue:

Nelson Mandela University spokesperson Zandile Mbambela says they are engaging with student leadership to find a solution to these issues.

“As the University, we have been working to address these through constant engagement with the SRC and other student formation where we try to deal with these issues as they arise to the best of our ability. As you know, some of these issues that are raised fall beyond the university’s ambit, falling with NSFAS, which we are in constant liaison with as well as the university. So we are hopeful as the registration comes to a close that a bulk of these issues will be sorted. Following this morning protests, management is currently meeting with the SRC to find solutions to some of the issues raised.”

Walter Sisulu University has also called for calm and urged students to utilise internal channels to engage management.

Looking at funding issues at NSFAS: