Mpumalanga University students slam timing of Nehawu strike

Mpumalanga University students slam timing of Nehawu strike
ILL TIMED: A NEHAWU march to the University of Mpumalanga last week is blamed for disrupting student exams. PICTURE Supplied.

Politics is reportedly blamed for the alleged chaos that occurred a week ago when Nehawu workers marched.

A march by the National Education, Health And Allied Workers Union to the Mpumalanga University is now blamed by the students after an alleged incident of exam disruptions at the University of Mpumalanga.

Thursday last week, Nehawu marched to the department of higher education demanding that vice chancellor Thoko Mayekiso is removed from her position “with immediate effect” over allegation of corruption.

“We have been veraciously complaining about issues related to irregular appointments, mismanagement of funds, alleged corruption, unilateral changes of policies and ineffective university council,” Nehawu said a day before their march, adding that all their attempts to have the ear of management were ignored.

On the week of Nehawu’s march the students were scheduled to begin exams and were shocked when they were chased out of exam halls by people serving “politics”.

According to one student who spoke to online newspaper Daily Vox, the protest came as a surprise after they thought they would now concentrate on their books having been rocked by a number of protests between March and September 2018.

“The strike affected us as students as we have worked hard preparing for our exams with limited time,” the student said.

“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 told Daily Vox.

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But in a statement, Nehawu has rubbished the claims they disrupted exams.

“The national union rejects misleading rumours that it is responsible for disrupting exams in the university,” the union said.

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 President of the ANC, that is why the student organisation is supporting a union of workers of the ANC,” she said.

SRC leader Mcolisi Ngcapalala said it was management that was disrupting students’ future.

“Those destructing our future is not NEHAWU or the workers,” Ngcapalala said.

“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 8 October 2018.

The march putting pressure on government to fire Mayekiso was joined by COSATU, SACP, YCL, COSAS and SANCO.

(edited by MLM)

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