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Tuesday, 7 February 2017

UNIVERSITY CLOSED AFTER PROTESTS

The Southern African Nazarene University (SANU) in Manzini, Swaziland, has closed indefinitely following student protests against poor facilities and insufficient allowances.

It follows a class boycott by students and police action on campus after the bursar’s office was blockaded.

The SANU Senate ordered the university closed after students in health and education refused to return to lectures. Students were ordered to vacate the premises on Wednesday (1 February 2017).

Students petitioned the Swazi Ministry of Labour and Social Security in Mbabane. They said there was insufficient clinical and teaching practice and project allowances were lower than at other universities.

The petition also stated that the university’s administration had increased tuition fees without proper notification and a lodging allowance to rent accommodation had been withdrawn.

The SANU is a state health training institution operating under the Nazareth health institutions in Swaziland, and has campuses at Steki Good Shepherd and Manzini Nazarene Hospitals.

This was not the first student class boycott at SANU over poor facilities and unpaid allowances. 

In October 2015, students and staff protested separately over poor conditions at SANU. The students boycotted class because allowances had not been paid 60 days into the new academic year. Academic and non-academic staff waved placards and sang songs at the administration block in a dispute over poor salaries.

In September 2014, students were forced to reapply to study and as part of that application they were asked to give up the names of the boycott leaders. The students went on strike in a dispute over allowances, poor learning conditions in the institution, insufficient books in the library and lack of laboratory equipment for science experiments. 

Students had to complete questionnaires which include three questions: How did the student body resolve to boycott classes in the absence of a student representative council? Who was responsible for calling all students out of their classrooms to join the strike? Do you know who were in the forefront of the strike action / the leaders? Name them. 

All students were also asked to answer this question: ‘You participated in a class boycott between the period 3 September and 10 September 2014 and destroyed University property in the process. State and show cause why you as an individual should not be held accountable for the damage you caused to the University property.’

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