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Change the world

27/02/2023

On Monday, 20 February 2023, Nelson Mandela University experienced a blockade of its entrances to the North, South, and George campuses by protesting students.
The protests were about a funding shortfall and unfunded student accommodation needs. Despite management successfully engaging the student leadership on an approach to resolve the issues, disruptions continued. 
 
Management and students subsequently reached an understanding on how the issues, which are within the University’s sphere of control, can be addressed, as well as the resumption of the 2023 academic year.
 
In her communication to the University community on Friday (25 February), Vice-Chancellor Prof Sibongile Muthwa provided an update and the University's position on the protest action that occurred during the week. The EFFSC branch at the University responded the next day with a statement. Management was shocked by the gratuitous and unfounded attack on the VC in the language used.
 
The University has always promoted, and even encouraged, robust discussion and debate on any issues affecting the academic project, student support and wellbeing, and the University operations. We thus find the attack on the VC unwarranted and unjustified.
 
The attack on the person of the VC, which reveals underlying attitudes in a society already so deeply affected by Gender-Based Violence, unfortunately will be experienced as an attack on all women at Mandela, and likely to intimidate and silence their voices. 
 
The attack is also dehumanising and should not be tolerated at a university with a humanising educational philosophy. In addition, the behaviour undermines the Mandela University core values of respect for diversity, Ubuntu, social justice, and integrity, as well as what it stands for.
 
We nonetheless welcome and appreciate the subsequent retraction and apology. This type of misogynistic and personal attack cannot be allowed to become the norm in our society. 
 
Prof Muthwa’s leadership of Nelson Mandela University has been characterised by admirable ethical and authentic leadership, commitment to social justice, innovation, competence and compassion for students and staff. She enjoys the full confidence and support of her management team and of the University community. 
 
 
ISSUED by Mr Lebogang Hashatse, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: People and Operations, and Dr Muki Moeng, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Learning and Teaching, on behalf of the University Management Committee

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777
Zandile.Mbabela@mandela.ac.za