Pretoria - "Should negotiations not come to an end by Friday, we will join the workers and bring this place to a standstill," Avela Mjajubana the national president of South African Students Congress (Sasco), told reporters at Unisa's Pretoria campus.
Mjajubana's warning came minutes after the deputy minister of Higher Education and Training Buti Manamela addressed the media that there was progress between Unisa and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu). Manamela said both parties have committed to resolve their dispute as soon as possible.
Manamela addressed the media after meeting with stakeholders from both Unisa and Nehawu at Unisa's main campus in Pretoria earlier on Wednesday.
"Since last week, the Department had been flooded with calls from prospective students who were worried they would not be able to apply and register due to protests taking place.You must understand that our role as the Department is not to impose any form of solution but to ensure there are negotiations taking place," he said.
Manamela added that their interest was to ensure that students get the opportunity to register . Manamela was seconded by the university's vice-chancellor Professor Mandla Makhanya who said he was hopeful that the strike will soon come to an end looking at the developments of the negotiations.
While the deputy minister was busy engaing people on campus and then briefing the media workers blocked entrances at the university's Sunnyside campus as well as the main campus.
This comes after workers shutdown all Unisa campuses nationwide to demand a wage increase. Workers initially put forward a 12% pay hike demand, while the university offered 7%. The strikers have since lowered their demand to 9%, to no avail.
Nehawu national organiser for higher education, Ntsako Nombelani said salaries are not the only issue: “It’s more than the 9% workers are demanding. There are transformation issues which we are fighting for, we want to de-Guptarise the council of Unisa because there are people who have been cited in the State of Capture Report, by Amabhungane and the Gupta leaks."