Mediator appointed for UJ fee talks

An independent mediator has been appointed to facilitate talks between students and management at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), its Student Representative Council (SRC) said on Thursday,

The Department of Education had on Monday appointed mediator Onkgopotse Tabane, the owner of a Cape Town-based consultation and mediation company, said SRC president Mhlobo Hoyi.

“We are happy with the appointment of Tabane. We hope issues would be resolved now,” he said.

On October 8, students embarked on a protest against a proposed 14% fee increase.

After several unsuccessful meetings with university management, they suspended the strike on October 16, demanding the appointment of an independent mediator.

“We’ll go back to the negotiating table tomorrow [Friday]. I think it’s promising for the students,” Hoyi said.

Tabane said his role would be to assist students and management identify issues, to encourage joint problem solving and to explore settlement options.

“The success of the process will therefore depend on the willingness of the parties to work hard in an effort to find a mutually acceptable solution to this conflict, in the best interest of the university,” he said.

He hoped the negotiations would not take more than seven days.—Sapa

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