Walter Sisulu University strike threatens to disrupt exams

A STRIKE by students at the Walter Sisulu University in East London is threatening to disrupt exams.

A STRIKE by students at the Walter Sisulu University in East London is threatening to disrupt exams.

The strike, which has been marred by violence, enters its fifth day today.

Semester course students are expected to start exams on Monday, but it is unlikely since management sent a memorandum telling students to vacate the Post Dam campus.

Management has claimed that students were involved in "illegal and criminal activities that included blocking entrances, intimidation of staff, violence, looting and destruction of property".

Students representative council deputy president Mawande Mnqayi said: "Students say it is pointless to write examinations because, even if they pass, they will not get results or register for the second semester because they are in debt."

He said out of the 5 500 students who had applied for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, only 800 were going to receive study loans.

"We are saying more than 4 000 students should get the study loans."

He said giving more student loans would avert strikes in future.

Mnqayi said they had spoken to Nehawu to mediate between management and the SRC.

"We have been trying to get hold of management but they were reluctant and asked the students to vacate the campus."

He said the SRC was not responsible for the violence because management got a court interdict banishing them from the campus.

He said the SRC condemned the violence and would assist in apprehending those involved in the destruction.

The students went on the rampage on Monday and prevented staff and management from leaving the university premises.

Amathole region ANC Youth League secretary Thembalethu Ntuthu also condemned the violence during the strike.

"It needs to be investigated and those who are found guilty must be prosecuted," he said.

Ntuthu, who is a former SRC member, said the NSFAS problem was not isolated to the university since it was a national problem.

"The government needs to monitor the institutions as their autonomy is also a problem," he said.

In a statement the university management said it was willing to engage with student leadership.

It said because of the instability at the Post Dam site, safety on campus was compromised.

"In the light of these incidents management has been forced to temporarily suspend all academic activities at the Buffalo City Campus with effect from Thursday (yesterday) till further notice," said the statement.