Nelson Mandela University Council statement on NEHAWU strike activities, campus safety

The Nelson Mandela University in Gqeberha.

The Nelson Mandela University in Gqeberha.

Published Mar 3, 2024


The Nelson Mandela University Council, under the leadership of the Chairperson, wishes to address the current situation regarding the ongoing strike by members of the National Education, Health, and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU).

We acknowledge the legal right to strike as essential to the democratic process and collective bargaining.

However, while the strike is legal, we must express our profound disappointment with the illegal conduct demonstrated by some striking individuals.

The University is founded on principles of dialogue, respect, and the peaceful resolution of disputes. Our commitment to these principles remains unwavering, even as we navigate the complexities of salary negotiations and other employment-related issues.

The transition from lawful protest to acts of lawlessness, including sabotage and property damage, is profoundly troubling and starkly contrasts the values we uphold.

The interim court interdict served to the leadership of NEHAWU clearly outlines the conditions meant to protect all university community members and preserve our property. These legal measures are crucial for maintaining a safe and conducive environment for education and work.

The recent escalation of events, marked by damaging actions, not only undermines our collective efforts to maintain academic integrity but also endangers the well-being and security of our community. We call upon all NEHAWU members to respect legal boundaries and engage in peaceful, constructive dialogue.

The Council fully supports the University's management in taking necessary actions to ensure that academic and operational functions continue unimpeded. We are particularly concerned about the negative impact of these disruptions on our students and the broader university community. We encourage a return to respectful and productive negotiations, focusing on finding equitable solutions to the matters at hand.

To our students, staff, administrators, and academics affected by these unfortunate events, please know that the Council is committed to your safety and the continuity of your educational and professional endeavours. We are dedicated to resolving this conflict, honouring everyone’s contributions, and upholding the dignity of our university community.

The University Council now appeals for an immediate end to all forms of illegal protest and urges a swift return to normalcy on our campuses. Let us align our efforts towards fostering an environment that reflects mutual respect, understanding, and the shared goal of educational excellence.

* Issued by Ambassador Nozipho January-Bardill, Chairperson, Nelson Mandela University Council

** The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of IOL or Independent Media.

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