The Economic Freedom Fighters’ Student Command (EFFSC) began to lead the protest against the outsourcing of workers at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) on Monday, 25 January.
The leader of the Command, Mpho Morolane said that on Sunday night, the disgruntled students and workers had staged a night vigil at the University. Among other demands was monthly minimum salaries of R10 000 for the University’s workers and for the employees to be treated with dignity as well as free education for all.
EFF claims that the workers are being paid peanuts and the service providers are continue to exploit the workers by additionally not providing the workers with benefits.
For instance Morolane explained that, “in the event that my mother is a cleaner at the university, it means she earns R2, 500 per month.
"With that money, you can’t even afford to buy groceries and other household needs. That is how students are affected.
"These mothers you see here are parents to children who want to access institutions of higher learning.”
The EFF TUT Branch Deputy Chairperson, Thanzi Nematsheme stated, “We are fighting with the outsourcing of workers at TUT, as EFF cell command that all workers are who fighting must be liberated under EFF cell command.”
Morolane further stated that they are now on a mission to hold similar protests at other universities.
“Once workers and students’ demands here at TUT are met, then our next stop will be at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT), followed by the Western Cape and Limpopo,” Morolane said.
The plan for the protest according to Morolane was to disrupt academic proceedings taking place at TUT until their demands are met.
“No one will be allowed to enter TUT, and we will be singing and chanting, hoping at the same time that the university management will come down to us and the sooner talks get underway, the better,” Morolane added.
Despite the fact that other tertiary institutions across the country are preparing to start their academic programme after weeks of registration fees protests, TUT will remain closed until the students and workers are satisfied with the management's response.
During the protest the students handed a memorandum to the University’s management, upon which the Vice-Chancellor, Lourens van Staden accepted the written document. TUT Spokesperson, Willa de Ruyter says they’re currently looking into the students’ demands. “It’s only the Pretoria West campus that has been affected. We have suspended activities at this campus for today and we are engaging the memorandum now to look at the issues. The request was also for a response to the workers today still, so we are working towards it,” de Ruyter explained.
The EFF also made it clear that they demand that the management to emulate what the University of Pretoria in agreeing with the demands of students.
On the other hand, the University of South Africa (Unisa) along with the University of Witwatersrand (WITS) and of Cape Town (UCT) announced that they will be insourcing contract workers following the months of protesting demanding the end of outsourcing in South African universities.