Tshwane University of Technology has finally announced the end of protests and the week-long closure at all its campuses. Academic activities were scheduled to resume today.
The agreement comes after days of negotiations between university management and the student leadership.
University spokesperson Willa de Ruyter said talks between the parties had finally yielded success.
She said a contingency plan was in place to alleviate the pressure on students who were inconvenienced by the suspension of activities.
Management had also extended registration for all students until tomorrow. “Time is not on our side and management appeals to all students to use their time productively to ensure their academic success.”
Further meetings are still under way, she said, and management was continuing engagements with the relevant role players to ensure issues raised were addressed timeously.
The SA Union of Students has lashed out at university vice-chancellors for punishing student activism through suspensions and expulsions.
The organisation met to discuss student protests this week and called on Minister of Higher Education and Training Naledi Pandor to resolve issues faced by students, including being prevented from registering or not having accommodation.
“The minister, instead of lamenting, should be able to engage universities to ensure that academic exclusions are a thing of the past, while equally speeding up the provision of adequate student accommodation on campuses.
“The minister’s failure to respond to this matter is alarming and quite sad, to say the least. It gives the impression that our democratic government sees nothing wrong with the suppression of student and youth activism in general,” union president Misheck Mugabe said.
“Sending police and untrained security personnel to shoot at students only worsens the situation, as it leads to the destruction of property, injuries and even death, as recently witnessed at the Durban University of Technology as well as the Tshwane University of Technology.”
Last week, Pandor issued a directive that students with good academic records who received Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding should sign an acknowledgement of debt form and be allowed to register.
Mugabe urged students not to resort to violence. “We dare not be reactionary, but always be proactive and steadfast in our approach in order to ensure stability in the institutions.”