Sefako Makgatho Heath Sciences students and management protest for various grievances. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA)
Pretoria - The Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University will no longer be able to finish off its academic calendar on time as a result of the protest by students and staff, which has entered its third week.

University spokesperson Dr Eric Pule said that despite hopes by management that academic activities would resume yesterday that had not been the case.

Everything appeared normal at the entrance of the university, but on campus a cat and mouse game between the protesters and the police continued.

Pule said the students and staff were again demanding to meet with the university council.

He said that even though they had placed vice-chancellor Professor Chris de Beer on special leave, it turned out protesters still wanted to meet with the council in order to address outstanding issues of residence infrastructure and management.

SRC president Innocent Chauke said the protest continued because they had not yet met with the council regarding some of the outstanding issues raised.

“It’s not just about the removal of the vice-chancellor; the issue is much bigger. He was also presiding over a corrupt management as well and many more problems.”

He posted pictures on his WhatsApp status of police allegedly firing rubber bullets on campus.

The academic activities at the university have been suspended since July 29. The issues centred around the removal of the vice-chancellor and members of the executive management, infrastructure concerns and lack of a conducive learning environment.

The university sought and was granted an interdict on August 2, allowing it to at least have students and staff enter the premises and ensure police presence to guard against damage to property.

Despite this, the university has been unable to resume academic activities as protesters blocked roads inside the campus and burned items such as benches and mattresses.

Pule said the continued protests were worrisome and would result in the university not finishing the academic calendar on time.

He said a contingency plan was created by the dean of schools for students to conduct their practical and theory requirements on time. However, the plan had been riding on the hopes that everything would be returning to normal yesterday.

“There are further meetings that have to take place during the course of today (yesterday). But as it stands it does not seem likely we will finish on time; so we have to come up with another contingency plan.”

Pretoria News