The Tshwane University of Technology students have vowed to stand their ground until the TUT management accede to their demands.
The University has taken a decision to suspend all its academic activities with immediate effect until further notice. This came as a result of a renewed student protest that began on Monday 04th March 2019 on all its campuses across Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces.
Ntsako Motsenga, secretary of TUT Soshanguve campus student representative council (SRC) said the SRC remains resolute that even if they do not find a solution to the problem at hand, the campus will remain shut. “What they are doing is just to delay our academics because we will never forget this issue until it is resolved” said Motsenga.
TUT management says that it will continue to engage with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and other important role-players towards resolving the current situation. It also states that information on the recovery plan will be published on its website once approved by Senate. The current decision will however not affect scheduled activities of the university, including the upcoming graduation ceremonies.
Myza Baloi, TUT Sosh EFFSC deputy chair and former SRC member says that it seems like it has become a norm at TUT that whenever there’s a student protest, the management will say student must vacate the premises.
“When we are too vocal raising the challenges we face as students, the management knows nothing and will say nothing but to make us vacate the premises. When we vacate and spend time at home, we no longer strike or show any seriousness of such matters at hand. This year, we are prepared to close the campus for a minimum of a year to show our seriousness”, said Baloi
Baloi also said if TUT wants students to get meal allowances only when they stay at TUT residences or TUT accredited residences, then they must provide residences for each and every registered student.
“If they want us to receive meal allowances, then they must give all students residences, then we’ll go back to classes but if they fail, we are ready to shut down the campus for a year”, said Baloi.
“When we come to university, we buy all the electrical appliances to use as TUT residences are self-catering, if we are told to vacate, what do we do with all the appliances?, where do we put them? How do you expect someone from ePhongolo in KZN to get money to pay transportation of appliances such as a fridge, stove, microwave oven and so forth?,” asked Mr Baloi.
TUT’s management says that on-campus students are required to vacate the residences for their own safety because there will be no services. In a communique issued on Tuesday 06 March 2019, the management states that the safety of students, staff and TUT property on all campuses remains their first priority.
“Due to the volatility and unpredictability of the current situation, we had no choice but to close academic activities for students until further notice in order to allow the situation to calm down,” said TUT management in a statement.
Mr Baloi also mentioned that the Soshanguve campus rector is confused as to why the management took a decision to vacate students and included Soshanguve in it because Soshanguve students were not striking, they only marched to the campus rector to hand in a memorandum stating their grievances.
However, the management concluded that an official communique on the resumption of duties will be published on webmail and that staff members are advised to communicate with their line managers about operational requirements and the specific arrangements in terms of reporting for duty.