NEHAWU statement on the violence that erupted at University of Mpumalanga today

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] blames both the Department of Higher Education [DHET] and Training and the management of the University of Mpumalanga [UMP] for the violence that erupted at university today.

On Thursday, 8th November 2018, the union handed-over a memorandum of demands to the representative of the Minister in relation to maladministration and corruption with the ultimatum of 48 hours from the receipt. To date, no reply neither an indication to reply has come forth, instead we observed a high level of arrogance from the management as it elected to run to the Labour Court yesterday and lied to the Court that our march was illegal and obtained an interim interdict in the process. While waiting for the Minister to respond to our genuine demands, the management opted to militarize the campus since yesterday by hiring private security without following tender processes.

Today, a group of students who were singing in the campus as part of their choir rehearsals were provoked by security and police who fired rubber bullets at them. Our members and workers could not allow the brutality directed at their children to proceed unabated moved in to try diffuse the situation by bringing a voice of reason which was also met by rubber bullets, resulting into workers and students being injured in the process.

The union and students distances themselves from injuries sustained by the police officials who either got shot by private security or otherwise. The union is considering opening cases against security officials and the Vice Chancellor for injuries sustained by workers.

The union remains committed on its demand that the university must be placed under administration as there is lack of leadership and a will to respond to the skills revolution as per the National Development Plan [NDP]. The national union has taken a decision to escalate this matter and raise it sharply with the Chancellor of the university, Cde Cyril Ramaphosa and demand that he takes immediate action before the situation becomes direr.

As NEHAWU, we reiterate our call to DHET to take our demands seriously without any further delays. In this regard, the union will bus its members and students of the University of Mpumalanga to the Office of the Minister in Pretoria to demand for the response, failing which all our members will be mobilised in different universities to render the system ungovernable as part of pledging solidarity.

Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat

Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968; December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969; Khaya Xaba (NEHAWU Media Liaison Officer) at 082 455 2500 or email: Visit NEHAWU website: