Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University could be facing a lawsuit by dozens of angry parents whose children were affected by protesters.
This as universities around the country continued this week with protests which were sparked last week by Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande’s fee hike announcement.
NMMU has been shut down since Monday and lectures have been suspended until further notice.
The parents, led by advocate Terry Price, are threatening to open a case of Mandamus after, they claim, the university failed to honour the rights of non-protesting students.
Price, acting as a concerned parent, said the university should have acted in the interest of the larger group of non-protesting students rather than in the interest of the minority.
“They have a duty to ensure that the students are able to write their tests. They can’t simply wash their hands on a group of 130 scum bags,” Price said.
However, NMMU acting vice-chancellor Dr Sibongile Muthwa said parents had to understand it was not “a numbers game”.
“It’s been said that a small group of protesting students are preventing the majority from studying. We have thought about this very carefully, it is not a numerical game. If it was like that it would be much easier,” Muthwa said.
“When a group of protesting students block a gate and the one student tries to get through it means we are not protecting that student. We are charged primarily with educating students but we are also charged with educating them in a safe environment.”
Muthwa said they ideally wanted students to complete their studies and “deliver on our contractual obligation”.
“It is unfortunate that there are these rumblings from parents,” she said.