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Campus update

Campus update

We write to you to give an update on developments on campus. Following the feedback we received last year from some staff and students, we have decided that this year we will keep our updates short, avoid information overload while at the same time keeping campus well informed about what is happening.

We are pleased to announce that our 2016 registration has progressed well. All first year students are now registered and more than 80% of senior students have already been registered. In line with our long held principle of no financial exclusions, the Student Credit Management cleared 11 574 students to enable them to register. As of yesterday, our registration figures had just gone over 18 000. Classes commenced on Monday, 15 February 2016.

As you may have noticed, there have been regular lunch congregations by outsourced workers and students since last week. On 9 February, we received a memorandum from outsourced workers demanding that the University should employ them permanently with immediate effect and that they demand a minimum wage of R10 000 per month.

Our response to these two demands, already sent to the concerned staff, is that the Council of the University has formed a task team to engage relevant stakeholders involved in outsourcing/insourcing at the University. We have made a commitment to augment existing salaries of outsourced workers by R2000 per month and at the moment this is as much as we can contribute. A study rebate received by University employees has been granted to the outsourced staff as well. As you are certainly aware, the university has adhered to the no fee increase in 2016 as announced by President Jacob Zuma and all expenses of the University must be evaluated within the context of sustainability.

On Tuesday 16 February, the lunch congregation was followed by occupation of the east gate. This resulted in an altercation between students and police. A student and a non-student were arrested by the police.

The congregation on Wednesday 17 February was followed by a submission of a memorandum of demands. The demand in this memorandum was that we should suspend classes by one week given the perceived delays in registration. Our response was that the University has already lost two weeks of academic period due to the postponement of 2015 examinations. Any further suspension would jeopardise the completion of the 2016 academic programme. In addition, we highlighted the statistics indicating that majority of students (more than 80 %) have already registered. A full response to this memorandum is attached for your reference.

We wish all our students a successful academic experience in 2016.

Yours sincerely,

The Executive Managemen