Registration came to a standstill at Unisa's Sunnyside campus on Wednesday, when members of the National Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) shut the university down after wage-increase negotiations deadlocked.
Members gathered around the entrance, singing struggle songs and dancing, as a small police contingent looked on.
Ntsako Nombelani, Nehawu's national organiser for higher education, told News24 that wage increase negotiations had deadlocked at 6.5 percent, with the union fighting for a 9 percent increase.
He added that the union wanted contracted workers to be absorbed into the university as permanent employees, so that they would also enjoy benefits and job security.
"We are striking for a decent living salary of 12 percent across the board, but will settle at 9 percent. Our strike will continue until our demands are met," said Nombelani.
"We also [want to] 'de-Guptarise' council, as there are two council members at Unisa who have been cited in the 'State Of Capture' report and the Gupta leaks."
Nombelani added that the union would hold meetings with Unisa again on Thursday.
University spokesperson Martin Ramotshela could not immediately be reached for comment.