Professor Thandwa Mthembu
Vice-Chancellor & Principal
Wednesday 28 February 2018
A step closer to getting our students back in class
Yesterday, the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training Mr Buti Manamela met with
the DUT Council EXCO, Union leaders from NEHAWU (represented at national level) NTEU and
TENUSA (represented at national level by FEDUSA), with members of the DUT Management
on the ML Sultan campus in Durban.
The meeting was arranged so that we could discuss a way forward to resolve the current
salary deadlock at DUT and ultimately, suspend the staff strike and get our students back in
I am extremely pleased to confirm that we had a very positive meeting yesterday and that the
four role-players, DHET, DUT, NEHAWU and FEDUSA – agreed on a framework that will see us
take a step closer to finding a resolution to the current salary impasse. You might have read
the Deputy Minister’s comments in the media overnight, where he expressed his confidence
that our lectures will resume shortly.
Earlier this morning, our Union leaders on campus were briefing their members on the
outcome of the meeting with the Deputy Minister. One of the terms of yesterday’s agreement
was that the strike would be suspended to allow an environment more conducive to
progressive negotiations. As I write, Management has not received any confirmation that the
leadership and its constituency have suspended the strike. It was on this basis that the
agreement states that the academic programme would be able to start on 1 March 2018;
something we are no longer sure of – given that the staff strike has not been suspended.
All parties agreed to completing the salary negotiations within three days; of course,
assuming that the framework agreed would be honoured. The University wants to reiterate
its firm commitment towards finding a solution to the salary deadlock and commencing with
the academic programme for 2018. However, it would be sad if any of the parties reneged on
commitments made yesterday.
In anticipation of the staff strike being eventually suspended before the end of today, the
Executive Committee of Senate will be meeting later this afternoon to consider the options
of a start date for lectures and re-arrangements of the academic programme. We will then
communicate with all students and staff once a start date has been finalized. Obviously, we
can only resume lectures once the staff strike has been suspended.