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Protesters disrupt conference at Unisa

01/03/2016.Members of the TRT stand outside the Theo Van Wyk Building in Unisa after cleaners and security guards disrupted the 5th Reseach and Innovation conference demamding that the university stops outsourcing. Picture: Masi Losi

01/03/2016.Members of the TRT stand outside the Theo Van Wyk Building in Unisa after cleaners and security guards disrupted the 5th Reseach and Innovation conference demamding that the university stops outsourcing. Picture: Masi Losi

Published Mar 1, 2016

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Pretoria - Protesting outsourced workers and students on Tuesday morning disrupted the University of South Africa's 5th Research and Innovation Week.

Speakers were supposed to discuss the issue of languages in universities on Tuesday.

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Instead, workers and students disrupted the proceeding and Unisa had no choice but to cancel the event.

On Monday, student representative council and vice-chancellors discussed the rise and fall of universities in light of the outsourcing and fee protests.

University spokesman Martin Ramotshela said they were still deciding whether to continue with the event on Wednesday.

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Addressing students and workers outside the Theo van Wyk Hall, SRC member Ntando Sindane said they demand that the university insource security personnel and cleaners.

“We want them to give workers a top-up of R8 000,” he said.

Workers currently earn about R2 500.

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Sindane and members of the task team are now meeting with vice-chancellor Professor Mandla Makhanya, who arrived under heavy police guard.

Before walking into the meeting, Sindane said: “We are not here to discuss anything. We want them to respond to our demands. Enough is enough. Victory is certain.”

On disrupting the research conference, Sindane said: “It cannot be business as usual. We want these academics to see the plight of black people they write about in their academic papers and thesis.”

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Noticeably absent from the protest is EFF Student Command leader Mpho Morolane whose leg was fractured at a protest at the University of North West a few weeks ago.

On Monday Morolane was one of the student leaders who addressed attendees at the Research and Innovation Week where he stressed that institutions can afford to insource workers.

Sindane said: “He is obviously feeling left out but we want him to recover. We keep calling him and updating him about the progress.”

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Pretoria News

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