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17 August 2016

Staff update – reintegration; outstanding debt

Universities in South Africa are under severe financial strain. NMMU is no exception. And, like all other institutions nationally, is facing an uncertain future in terms of financial sustainability.

The national student #FeesMustFall movement, which led to a no-fee increase for 2016, raised various issues, not least the inadequacies of the government subsidy model to support all financially needy students, as well as the need for universities to end outsourcing.

As a result, in November 2015, NMMU chose to do what is morally ethical by:

·         Committing to reintegrating all outsourced services, and

·         Offering debt and down payment interventions 

NMMU immediately implemented a minimum package of R5 000 (cost to company); provided access to all NMMU clinics and offered the opportunity of free study at the institution to all outsourced staff.

On 1 April 2016, catering staff became the first group of outsourced workers nationally to be reintegrated. This was followed by the reintegration of Protection Services staff on 1 July. 

Reintegration Challenges

But these successes have not come without their challenges, as staff and students witnessed when the newly-reintegrated security employees abandoned their posts on 11 and 12 July to join a student protest.

While grappling with reintegrating outsourced service functions and service workers, the Reintegration of Services Functions Task Team is also simultaneously working towards developing new business models for services functions for NMMU – models that will make the University more efficient, effective and sustainable going forward. This is a project that needs to be completed before the end of the year.

Financial support and Student debt

Apart from having to make up the shortfall left by the no-fee increase, the University committed to 2015 debt and 2016 down payment relief to ensure that no academically deserving student was denied the opportunity of studying further. Along with students who qualified for National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding but missed out because of a shortage of government funds, NMMU also extended the relief opportunity to students from “missing middle” families. Close to 6700 students benefitted from this intervention.

These measures were put in place to make financial planning easier for the families concerned; not to exonerate them from payment.

Right now NMMU is owed R230m. It is also at a crossroads in the reintegration process concerning protection service workers.

While strategies are in place to recover student debt, it is important for staff and students to recognise and appreciate that there will be challenges ahead. And so, again you are encouraged to embrace the University’s ‘Case for Change’ initiative in co-creating solutions for a better tomorrow.

‘Case for Change’

The next round of ‘case for change’ engagements are scheduled with faculties and will be led by Dr Sibongile Muthwa, the Acting VC, DVCs and MANCO members.


31 March 2016

Reintegration of service workers into NMMU

The first group of workers from companies contracted to Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) will become University employees from 1 April 2016.

This follows the NMMU Council November 2015 resolution to reintegrate all service workers from the contracted companies supplying catering, cleaning, gardening and protection services to the University.

While more than 80 workers from Fedics will become NMMU employees from tomorrow when that company’s contract expires, much work lies ahead in reintegrating a further 700-odd workers. As a result, the Task Team will hold one final session, to ensure that all processes are in place for the transition of all workers from the remaining outsourced companies, after which a report to Council will be finalised for submission.

A decision as to by when the workers will become NMMU employees is also expected to be finalised.

Task Team mandate

  • The mandate of the Task Team overseen by two independent advocates has been to:
  • Develop an immediate response to the introduction of an insourced catering model to replace Fedics
  • Consider implications for ending the outsourcing model and reintegration of service functions 
  • Advise on the transitional arrangements, including the proposal of the Code of Conduct for outsourced companies as an interim measure
  • Advise on the process to be followed to end outsourcing and consider the related implementation time-frames
  • Advise on the process to be followed to introduce an insourced catering model
  • Conceptualise relevant technical teams to support various aspects of the re-integration process 
  • Collaborate with the Task Team working on Student Financial Support

Working Group reports                                       

All parties will be given the opportunity to examine the Working Group reports compiled around cleaning, gardening and protection services so that residual issues can be raised at the final session. This was agreed at the last Task Team meeting of 29 March.  


The Helpdesk, established especially to assist with the reintegration process, has received and attended to 199 queries to date.

The Helpdesk will continue its commitment to support the process as the other workers are reintegrated, and the transition catering phase begins.

Remuneration / benefits for new employees

Human Resources resolved to share information on remuneration scales and other benefits for workers. These will be distributed via the Helpdesk.

Next meeting

The Working Group meetings will be held during the first week in April.

29 March 2016

Catering services at NMMU

From 1 April, catering services at NMMU will be provided by staff who previously worked for the contracted service company, Fedics. The current Fedics staff compliment, will be in the official employ of the University from Friday.

The reintegration of all service workers, starting with catering staff as the Fedics catering contract expires before other contracts, follows an NMMU Council resolution in November 2015.

A Task Team formed to oversee the initial reintegration processes was advised legally to pursue section 197 of the Labour Relations Act to facilitate the transfer of catering staff to NMMU. Very simply, this means:

  • All staff, inclusive of management, is transferred to the new employer
  • An agreement between the old employer and the new employers ensures that employees are employed on similar or better terms by the new employer
  • Any outstanding issues also become the responsibility of the new employer


During the transition phase of the new in-house catering service, staff and students are encouraged to report concerns and/or offer suggestions to the residence managers. They, in turn, will liaise with the acting Dean of Students. The catering working group will hold regular meetings with the relevant stakeholders to seek timeous solutions to any challenges that may occur. E-mails related to the above may be sent to


The new employees can also raise concerns with their line managers, the residence managers, or continue to use the Helpdesk established especially to assist in the reintegration processes.

Completion of Task Team’s role

The work of the Task Team, established to oversee processes around the reintegration of more than 800 service workers into the full-time employ of the University, is nearing completion.

Formed late in 2015 to address financial, human resource, legal and other challenges involved in reintegrating workers from catering, gardening, cleaning and security services, the Task Team will host its final meeting today (Tuesday 29 March).

The Task Team’s report will then be presented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Institutional Support Dr Sibongile Muthwa, after which the Vice-Chancellor Prof Derrick Swartz will present it to Manco and the NMMU Council.

Since the NMMU Council resolution of 21 November last year, the Task Team, which has been chaired by Advocate Luvuyo Bono and Advocate Amon Nyondo, has:

·         Initiated the establishment of working groups for each group of service workers

·         Supported implementation of a Helpdesk dedicated to the concerns and needs of the service workers

·         Provided legal advice around the 1 April 2016 transfer process of Fedics workers to the full-time employ of NMMU

·         Offered direction for the process to be followed for the remaining contracted workers to be reintegrated during the forthcoming year

The workings of this Task Team, the working groups which report to it and the managerial work streams which need to implement the decisions are all being documented, especially since this is unchartered territory for institutions of higher learning. In many instances, NMMU is leading the way in such processes.  

7 March 2016

Task Team - Reintegration of workers from contracted companies

The action necessary to ensure the reintegration of about 826 workers from companies contracted to supply the services of catering, cleaning, horticulture and security is continuing as evidenced by the following:


A Helpdesk introduced to assist workers with concerns around the reintegration process, the R5 000 top-up minimum wage cost to company and new staff benefits, has responded to the requests of 181 workers. Of these 177 have been resolved and four are awaiting feedback.

Clinic Services

A total of 187 workers involved in the reintegration process have taken advantage of the University’s clinic facilities. This was one of the immediate benefits committed by the NMMU Council decision of 21 November 2015. As the workers (from outsourced companies) do not yet have a medical aid, submissions have been made to increase the medicine budget and for a part-time nurse to be employed.  

A similar audit of the George Campus clinic facilities and capacity to cope with the increased numbers will be undertaken this week.


The contract with the catering suppliers, Fedics, comes to an end on 31 March.


NMMU is currently comparing and benchmarking the reintegration models being investigated by other South African universities, including those like Rhodes which has historically not outsourced service functions. While NMMU will proceed with its reintegration process as planned, the University believes it worthwhile to learn from lessons and experiences of sister universities.

Road map

The proposal of independent chair Advocate Luvoyo Bona for the way forward in completing the outstanding challenges was accepted.

These challenges include finalising the following before 31 March:

  • The process in transferring Fedics (which method)
  • Timelines in concluding the transfer process
  • ·A contractor charter of conduct
  • An integration plan for employees
  • Engagement with the other contracting companies

Next meeting

The next meeting for the joint task team which is made up of representatives of workers from the different contracted companies, the unions, management and students will meet on 14 March.  Various working groups will report back on progress made at this meeting.  

19 February 2016

Task teams

The task team meetings on accommodation, the reintegration of support services and debt relief are continuing. These are focused on seeking mutually beneficial solutions, crafting and finalizing plans and, in some cases, implementing these.

Reintegration of support services

At the 15 February reintegration of support services meeting attended by worker, union, student, finance, HR and support staff representatives and chaired by independent advocates, the following emerged:


  • 167 queries have been received at the Helpdesk dedicated to the concerns of the 826 individual workers involved in the process, of which a good number of these have been resolved.
  • Workers are encouraged to continue to raise, with the Helpdesk, outstanding issues with which they need assistance, especially those pertaining to the cost to company top-up of minimum wages, and extended study and clinic benefits.

Provident Fund

Workers were all assisted with the verification of their Provident Fund. Seven of the eight contracted support service companies were found to have Provident Funds that were “in good order” and had their provident funds provided for their respective employees.


Catering suppliers, Fedics, will, as by recommended by Fedics Working Group (comprising students and management) and agreed by the Re-integration Task Team, continue to operate until its contract ends on 31 March. Thereafter, NMMU will offer its own catering services. 

Road map

The Task Team is now focusing on developing a re-integration road map and the next TT meeting will take place on 29 February 2016.


Students, workers and union representatives, along with management, remain active in the Task Team meetings. 

10 February 2016

Health care services for future NMMU employees

Part of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s commitment to staff working for support services that are to be reintegrated is being able to make use of the University’s occupational health services. Please share this communiqué with these future employees either in English below, or in isiXhosa as shared in the attachment.    

Dear catering/cleaning/security/garden service staff

In line with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s Council resolution on 21 November, the University will provide the same on-site occupational health care services to those workers whose services are to be reintegrated as is currently available to NMMU employees.

The following services will be provided daily at the Occupational Health Centre on North Campus (at the back of the Clinic).

1. Full occupational health service as is prescribed by the Occupational Health Services (OHS) act. These will be by scheduled appointments made by the relevant staff.

(Sr Valencia Benjamin @ ext 3662 and Mr Kobus Magielies @ ext 2045)

2. Emergency medical care including transportation (ambulance service) as and when needed. The ambulance service can be contacted @ ext 4312

Minor primary health care services will be provided as follows:

Monday –Thursday between 8am and 9am when no appointments are needed.

3. Management of minor ailments and the provision of a stat dose of medication as and when needed at the cost of R15.00 a visit

4. Provision of Family Planning and STI screening and treatment

5. Screening, monitoring and referral of chronic conditions (blood pressure, blood sugar, TB, HIV, epilepsy etc.)

6. No treatment for any chronic conditions is provided for and staff will still have to access the public services for this.

  Should the employee have access to a medical aid, the referral will be to his/her doctor.

The above services will be available by special arrangement at Missionvale and Second Avenue as follows:

Missionvale:  1st and 3rd Friday of each month from 8am – 9am

Second Avenue:  2nd and 4th Friday of each month from 8am – 9am

Campus Health Service

3 February 2016

Reintegration of support services update
The Task Team mandated to oversee the reintegration of support services provided to meet the catering, cleaning, security and gardening needs of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University met again on Friday 29 January. Their next meeting will be on 15 February.

Various issues were raised and resolutions reached to ensure the reintegration process can continue. These were around:

  • Fedics

Earlier on, the Task Team had established a working group to focus on matters relating to catering services, currently outsourced to Fedics (Pty) Ltd.  The Task Team adopted the recommendations of the working group to allow Fedics to continue offering catering services while NMMU prepares to take over the service from 1 April 2016.

  • Helpdesk

Complaints about there being no helpdesk on South Campus for employees to raise their concerns or issues, has since been addressed. See venue and timetable below. Employees are welcome to bring their union or student representatives to the helpdesk.

  • Rendezvous

Ten employees tasked with providing the restaurant-related services at Rendezvous, on South Campus, are now full-time permanent employees of NMMU.  Their appointment follows on the amendments to section 198 of the Labour Relations Act of 1995 (the LRA) in relation to the use of fixed term contracts within NMMU. The LRA amendments became effective 1 February 2015 and all employers were required to reach a state of compliance to the changes in section 198 of the LRA.   Initially, it was recommended that this niche restaurant service to NMMU employees, students and visitors be outsourced and possibly overseen by the NMMU Trust.

In light of the #FeesMustFall movement, however, the outsourcing recommendation was withdrawn and the process of reintegrating these workers begun afresh, all in consultation with the unions and concerned student formations.

As with the reintegration process of the present support services, these workers also received the same benefits - the top-up cost to company minimum wage, the employee study benefits and access to clinic services. In line with effective date of section 198 of the LRA the Rendezvous staff, have also been compensated from 1 May 2015. The individual jobs of the affected employees have been graded according to agreed-upon job descriptions and appointment letters will be issued in due course.    

Helpdesk venues






North Campus D-Block – 1st Floor


09h00 – 14h00


South Campus  - Education Building – Building 6


09h00 – 14h00


Second Avenue Campus – X Block


09h00 – 12h00


Bird Street Campus – Felsted Building


13h00 – 15h00


Missionvale Campus - Main Entrance Building


09h00 – 14h00











29 January 2016

Reintegration of services to NMMU

On 21 November 2015, the NMMU Council committed to reintegrating its gardening, security, cleaning and catering services and to ensure that workers employed by outsource companies to work at NMMU enjoy equitable and just conditions of service.

That process began immediately with:

·         An across-the-board agreed minimum wage of R5 000 cost to company (the first payment was made in December)

·         Access to full staff study benefits and

·         Access to clinic services

An inclusive and multi-stakeholder task team was established to facilitate the process and manage challenges that may lie ahead in reintegrating the services and functions, and workers from six different companies which are still contractually bound to the University in both Port Elizabeth and George.

Task team

Apart from renegotiating contracts without putting job security at risk and limiting financial losses, the task team also needs to phase-in  the direct employment of service workers who have been in the employ of outsource companies.

To ensure that the process is fair, credible, transparent and acceptable to all, a diverse range of people from the following divisions, have been asked to serve on the task team:

  • Organised labour – two representatives from NEHAWU and NTEU, the two formally recognised NMMU unions.
  • two workers per campus (where applicable) from each of the four outsourced companies (Fedics; Supercare; Bidvest and Coin) in Port Elizabeth and two in George (Magic Moppers; Zama)
  • Student representatives from the SRC and the broader student movement
  • Lead by the DVC: Institutional support, relevant NMMU staff from Estates and Facilities Management; HR; Finance; the acting Dean of Students; Legal Services; the VC’s Office; Communication and Stakeholder Liaison, and Risk Management 

The task team’s first meeting was held on 2 December and it continues to meet regularly


As an enabling mechanism, an impartial chair leads the Task Team.  He is Advocate Luvuyo Bono, who is assisted by Advocate Amon Nyondo.


The Task Team is committed to reporting to Council in April, providing a roadmap, indicating the best why forward for the reintegration process.

Information sessions

One of the urgent needs that arose was the hosting of information sessions aimed at the future employees. 14 sessions on all of NMMU’s campuses, including George, were held from 18 to 21 January 2016 and covered the immediate benefits available to such staff:

  • The topping up of salaries to a minimum of R5000 cost to company
  • Access to staff study benefits
  • Access to all clinic services

Pamphlets outlining the study benefits in both English and isiXhosa were distributed, and each presentation filmed. These are now available on the NMMU website, with the one on study benefits offered in both English and isiXhosa.

Go to


To further support the process, helpdesks have been introduced on each campus to allow future employees the opportunity to ask further questions.

Here is the timetable:






North Campus D-Block – 1st Floor


09h00 – 14h00


North Campus D-Block – 1st Floor


09h00 – 14h00


Second Avenue Campus – X Block


09h00 – 12h00


Bird Street Campus – Felsted Building


13h00 – 15h00


Missionvale Campus - Main Entrance Building


09h00 – 14h00


18 January 2016

One of the key resolutions of the NMMU Council late last year was its commitment to outsourced workers in the service fields of catering, cleaning, protection services, and gardening.

In line with the University’s values, it agreed to reintegrate these services and the 800-plus staff members, and offered some immediate benefits. These benefits are:

  • The topping up of salaries to a minimum of R5000 cost to company
  • Access to staff study benefits
  • Access to all health services

To support the introduction of these benefits, information sessions are being held for these future NMMU employees over the next few days, starting today, Monday 18 January.

Task team  

To facilitate the many challenges that lie ahead in reintegrating large numbers of individuals from many different companies which are still contractually bound to the University, a task team was formed last year and an initial meeting held.

A second meeting was held earlier this month, facilitated by an independent chairperson, Advocate  Luvuyo Bono to plot an agreed way forward.

The task team consists of representatives of the various companies, #FeesMustFall students, unions, SRC representatives and NMMU staff members.


A special helpdesk will be introduced to assist employees affected by the changes. Details of this will be communicated shortly.