Disruption experienced during Unisa’s graduations and other operations

Dear stakeholder,

As you know, yesterday (Wednesday, 19 April 2022) the university had scheduled two graduation ceremonies at 10:00 and 18:00 respectively as part of the Autumn Graduation programme which will run until 23 June 2022.

It is now common knowledge that whilst all the invited and qualifying students were able to successfully graduate during the morning graduation session, we did however experience some rather disturbing scenes when protesting members of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) invaded the graduation hall with the intention to disrupt the proceedings.

This unlawful act, which included an unfortunate discharge of a pepper spray canister, caused considerable panic and discomfort to students, guests and staff of the university and left many feeling unsafe on the premises of the university.

It is also common knowledge that the graduation session planned for 18:00 yesterday also had to be postponed as the same protesters had blocked the entrance into the Muckleneuck Campus and thus rendered access to the campus difficult for the graduating students and other guests. They also rendered the environment very hostile and unsafe for the guests.

Having assessed the situation on the ground and with the advice of the various relevant officials, the university decided to postpone the 18:00 graduation session to avoid the escalation of hostilities, which may have placed the safety of all stakeholders at risk.

The management of the university apologises profusely for the inconvenience caused by the incident at the morning graduation session as well as the decision to postpone the evening graduation. We share the pain, frustration and anger of all the affected stakeholders caused by this unfortunate conduct on the part of our staff members.

As management, we do not condone the use of such tactics as a means of voicing out discontent and we condemn such actions in the strongest terms possible.

Following the face-to-face communication with the affected stakeholders by the University Deputy Registrar yesterday, the university will, in due course, communicate in writing the details of alternative graduation arrangements that will be put in place for students affected by the postponement of yesterday’s evening session.

This communication will be sent directly to the affected students via email and/or sms and will include the details for the collection of certificates for those students wishing to do so.

Once again, please accept our unconditional and profound apology.

Issued by:
Unisa Executive Management

Publish date: 2022/04/21