NATIONAL University of Science and Technology (Nust) students on Monday barricaded the entrance to the university campus protesting the ongoing standoff between the management and teaching staff.
In a dispute that has paralysed operations at the Bulawayo-based state university, lecturers have been on strike since last year, citing “gross mismanagement” by their bosses.
The industrial action continued as the university opened for the first semester of the 2018 academic year last month.
Students said they have not had any lecturers for four weeks.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week appointed Professor Mqhele Dlodlo as substantive vice chancellor and his immediate challenge would be to deal with the job action by lecturers.
In a letter from the students’ representative council (SRC) seen by NewZimbabwe.com, the scholars said they were forced to protest as the university management continued to turn a blind eye to their plight.
“When the ordinary becomes extraordinary, fearless confrontation becomes the sole option at our disposal,” wrote Minister of Student Affairs, Lesley Maniwa.
“Dialogues between the SRC, admin and NUSTEDA have failed to bring back normalcy to our institution, it’s now almost 4 weeks without lectures. To that end the only apt solution at our disposal is to confront the admin.
“In that regard we call all progressive students to come together as we shutdown Nust tomorrow (Monday), all our revolutionary cadres should be on campus at exactly 6:00am for a brief meeting.
“No student is allowed on campus, we will come together outside the Nust gates as a united force and fight for our birth right from there”.
On Monday students responded in numbers and, true to their earlier threats, barricaded the university entrance, forcing operations to grind to a halt.
The students also blockaded the busy Bulawayo-Gwanda highway forcing traffic to divert and use alternative routes.
A university employee who spoke to this publication on condition of anonymity said the students` strike had jolted the university management into action.
“The university management council has called for an urgent meeting this morning (Monday) to try and find a solution to the standoff between the university and the teaching staff,” said the source.
“The meeting will be attended by Nusteda representatives as well as members of the university management council.