Students slam National Education, Health And Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) following alleged exam disruptions at the University of Mpumalanga, and blame politics for the chaos.
On Wednesday, Nehawu marched in the institution calling for the vice chancellor Thoko Mayekiso to step down, following allegations of corruption. This came after allegations of corruption emerged, resulting in the union calling for removal of the VC.
NEHAWU’s protest follows that of the students. In September, classes had to be suspended after students protested over accomodation issues, among others.
According to a student who asked not to be named, the protest came as a surprise.
“The strike affected us as students as we have worked hard preparing for our exams with limited time. We as students were striking not so long ago against the corruption of the management, so this semester we didn’t attend a lot of classes. It came as a surprise to us as students when NEHAWU was chasing students out of the examination hall,” he said.
However, in a statement, the union has rubbished claims of disruption of exams.
“The national union rejects misleading rumours that it is responsible for disrupting exams in the university,” it said.
On Thursday the union marched to the department of higher education to hand over a memorandum of demands, and said that the purpose of the demonstration was to put pressure on the institution to allow normal operations to resume.
Some of the demands on the list include removal of the vice chancellor with immediate effect, dissolution of the university council, and a forensic investigation of all university activities.
Another student Vuyelwa Mnisi said she is not against the protest but its timing.
“This whole situation is bad because we have to put our future on hold because of workers, and it’s sad because they are our parents. I’m not against them striking but I’m against them choosing this particular time, they could have chosen another time because I feel as though currently they are using us.”
“A large population is being affected and another thing happening in that university is politically driven. SRC is Sasco, a student organisation of the ANC. Nehawu is the workers organisation of the ANC, the Chancellor Cyril Ramaphosa is the chairperson of the ANC, that is why the student organisation is supporting a union of workers of the ANC,” she said.
In an interview with the Daily Vox, student representative council (SRC) president Mcolisi Ngcapalala has blamed the management of disrupting students’ future.
“Those destructing our future is not NEHAWU or the workers but it’s the management. What we are saying in terms of disruption of the exam is that it’s a symptom of a sickness that has been given to us by the management of the university,” he said.
Ngcapalala added that there has been no academic progress in the institution since October 08, 2018.