Scores of Nehawu members protest outside the OR Tambo building at Unisa. Picture: James Mahlokwane

Pretoria - The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) is leading a protest calling for Unisa to maintain its dilapidated buildings and absorb workers who have been waiting to be made permanent for over a decade.

The union, supported by the national SRC, said the protests were nationwide and would take place until further notice as they plan to first engage Unisa vice-president, professor Mandla Makhanya.

They said the institution had buildings that did not meet minimum occupational health and safety standards such as the Florida and Johannesburg campuses but not enough was done to remedy the situation.

Nehawu chairperson at Unisa Lunathi Hontoti said the institution had long promised to permanently absorb contract workers in the information communications technology and information services departments. 

He said these workers had been working on fixed terms for over a decade but they were still waiting today and it was time Unisa delivered on its promise of absorption. 

The crowd is also demonstrating against the return of the registrar, Faroon Goolam, and operations and facilities vice-principal, Marcia Socikwa, who were placed on special leave earlier this year.

Goolam was accused of poor leadership that let to the institution not accepting thousands of students whereas the institution had a deficit of about 120 000 students right now. 

Socikwa was accused of bullying staff and making racist remarks that upset her colleagues and divided workers in the institution that sought unity and professionalism. 

Hontoti said labour was shocked by the return of these officials who resumed work on Monday despite a preliminary report stating that they should be charged.

Pretoria News