Nqobile Tshili Bulawayo Bureau
National University of Science and Technology (Nust) lecturers yesterday declared that they were incapacitated to work.
Incapacitation loosely translates to a strike as workers would be saying their salaries are not enough to enable them to perform their duties.
Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira said although he had not officially been told about the matter, he would ensure that it is resolved in no time.
“I will let the council sort it out. I talked to them (lecturers) somehow kuzolunga (it will be fine). It’s a localised problem. We will sort it out. It’s just Nust, it’s not a big issue,” said Prof Murwira.
In a letter seen by our Bulawayo Bureau, National University of Science and Technology Educators’ Association (Nusteda) president Alois Muzvuwe advised the university’s Vice Chancellor Professor Mqhele Dlodlo, vice chancellor responsible for Research and Academic Affairs Professor Yogeshkumar Naik and the Registrar Mr Fidelis Mhlanga that lecturers will not be attending lectures.
“Nusteda officially declares incapacitation on behalf of all the Nust teaching staff. Nust teaching staff will not be able to report for duty from February 26, 2020, until they have been capacitated to do so. Note that this is not a strike. Lecturers want to report for duty but they cannot afford to do so. The union therefore pleads with you, not to victimise or punish people who are genuinely failing to attend to their duties due to this incapacitation,” reads Mr Muzvuwe’s letter.
He cited the high cost of living as the reason behind the lecturers’ incapacitation declaration.
“Today is our pay day but the salary grant has not yet come through. To make matters worse, it is not clear whether there is going to be any salary increment that adequately addresses prevailing economic challenges being faced by lecturers,” he said.
Mr Muzvuwe said lecturers were starving and indicated that they feared falling in front of students due to hunger.
Lecturers’ salaries were reviewed last year in October with a senior lecturer earning above $10 000, junior lecturer $8 000 and a teaching assistant being paid more than $5 000.
Nust students representative council president Innocent Dombo yesterday said a survey carried by the students’ body observed that most lecturers were teaching.
“We did our survey and we observed that most of the lecturers were actually teaching yesterday, despite their declaration of incapacitation.
“However, our position is that we want the lecturers and the administration to resolve their issues. We have paid very huge amounts in fees. We are unapologetic on that, we want service from the lecturers,” said Dombo.
He said students also want the parent ministry to intervene in the matter.