The Grahamstown High Court has ordered Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University to "immediately engage the services of a trained, independent and suitably skilled mediator" to help resolve the deadlock arising from the feesmustfall campaign.
The order by Justice Alkema on Tuesday was made in response to an application by the Concerned Association of Parents and others for Tertiary Education at Universities, Captu.
The Association was established in Port Elizabeth last week to get the courts to compel NMMU to meet its contractual obligations in terms of the Consumer Protection Act.
In the order, Justice Alkema said "that the respondents are ordered, immediately to engage the services of a trained, independent and suitably skilled mediator to engage all stakeholders identified as necessary by the respondent in the mediation initiated urgently by the NMMU on 10 October 2016, namely the applicant, the Student Representative Council of the first respondent, NMMU #FeesMustFall; NMMU Sasco; the NMMU Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command and NMMU Black Stokvel/Marikana, in an effort to resolve the differences and difficulties aired in this application in the light of the values of the Constitution, the constitutional and statutory duties of the NMMU and the rights and duties of the students and staff concerned."
The draft order further states that "if by close of business on Thursday, 14 October 2016 either the applicant or the NMMU, in its discretion, after constructive engagement with the each other, does not believe that meaningful progress has been made towards the successful resumption of academic activities the NMMU and/or the Applicant (on reasonable prior notice to the NMMU) shall be entitled to approach the High Court on an urgent basis for such an order as it may deem appropriate to ensure the resumption of academic activities."
The "application" was adjourned to next Tuesday to allow "for meaningful consultation that include students and for the parties to report back to the court."
Judge Alkema also ordered that "account may be taken of the contents of the affidavits in the Court's consideration of any appropriate, just and equitable order in the matter, including for the issuing of further directions, should this become necessary."
Costs were reserved.