Protesting NMMU students disrupt awards ceremony

Lizeka Tandwa, News24

Johannesburg - A Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) event was brought to a screeching halt when students marched into the NMMU Sport Centre before proceedings began, singing struggle song to show their support for students from other institutions who are currently protesting against fee hikes.

According to one of the witnesses, NMMU students gained entrance to the venue minutes before a scheduled event for the university's annual Achievers Awards ceremony.

A video documenting the scene, shows NMMU students singing struggle songs while at the lavishly decorated Sport Centre. The event, hosted by NMMU's Vice Chancellor Derrick Swartz, was cancelled, due to the disruption.

NMMU SRC secretary General Baxolile Nodada, however, denied that students disrupted the proceedings saying that they had a peaceful march before any proceedings began.

Nodada said a group of students led by the SRC president Hlomela Bucwa with other society group went to Swartz event to demonstrate their solidarity with comrades from other institutions.

"We are fortunate in that we have already started negotiations with management. We had already orally agreed to a 6% hike which will remain standard for a period of three years. We are also standing firm against any hikes in admission fees. We have reached this consensus with management and we wait for management to confirm this agreement hopefully on October 22 when we have out next meeting."

Nodada said they will join other universities tomorrow on a peaceful march.