21 September 2017

South Africa: Nehawu Condemns CPUT Arson Attacks

Photo: Cape Peninsula University of Technology
A staff room at CPUT Mowbray campus after an arson attack.
press release

The National Education Health and Allied Workers' Union [NEHAWU] condemns the arson attacks that has occurred at the Cape Peninsula University [CPUT]. Buildings in three campuses namely Cape Town, Mowbray, and Bellville were torched within a period of two days.

The union believes that the burning of university buildings cannot be delinked from the violent strike actions led by criminal element which are linked to the EFF Student Command. These acts of vandalism should be seen for what they truly are; criminal elements who are hell-bent on doing anything to win the hearts of unsuspecting students towards the upcoming SRC elections and use the emotions of formerly outsourced workers in CPUT.

On the other hand, the union calls for CPUT management to take responsibility for the fact that these criminal elements are using the insourcing campaign as a mobilization tool, because as NEHAWU we did warn the university management on various platforms, about the dangers of engaging with any pressure groups on matters affecting workers, to an extent of approving budgets about salary structures of the formerly insourced workers in negation of engagements with recognized trade unions as we correctly argued that this would create problems going forward but our calls fell on deaf ears.

NEHAWU will be demand an urgent meeting with the university management to register our anger in relation to their disregard of the Labour Relations Act [LRA]. We are very concerned that the university continues to overlook recognized trade unions at the university rather electing to give audience to unscrupulous groupings in the university in relation to issue of insourcing.

The union further appreciates the decision of the South African Police Services [SAPS] to investigate the three cases and we call on them to interrogate the alleged refusal of the CPUT Legal Services Manager, Ms. Sifumba, who has always been dismissing as insufficient any information brought to the attention by the CPUT Chief Security Officer. It is our view that the refusal to take action against these criminal elements by the CPUT legal services manager is an indication that there is something more than what meets an eye, and perhaps the starting point for SAPS and CPUT would be to investigate whether the CPUT Legal Services Officer has no personal business relations with students through a company of whatever nature operating within CPUT.

Lastly NEHAWU believes that there is no space for criminal elements in our society, and therefore the university cannot be made a breeding grounds for lumpen-proletariats, and therefore any criminal elements found guilty of arson must be prosecuted.

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