Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, has strongly condemned incidents of violent disruptions, arson, vandalism and intimidation at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and the University of the Western Cape.
“Government cannot and will not tolerate the threat to lives and destruction of property, and requests university management to tighten up security at all campuses in order to ensure the safety of all students and workers,” Nzimande said.
Nzimande said arson, vandalism and intimidation will never justify and cannot be associated with any legitimate forms of protest. He said it must be “condemned unequivocally by all, including by student leaders themselves”.
According to reports, a number of grievances led to the clashes that played out last week on campuses between students, campus security and the police. Chief among these are changes made to some of the terms of student funding from the State.
The Minister appealed to both the universities to work with the law enforcement agencies to ensure that perpetrators of these criminal acts are exposed, and that the necessary disciplinary actions are taken against all students who are involved.
In order to resolve genuine student concerns, Nzimande said, the Department of Higher Education and Training, together with the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), has been consulting stakeholders at the universities - including the Student Representative Council (SRC) - to resolve the impasse.
The Minister also appealed for calm and for all the stakeholders to continue to participate in the consultation processes.
He said he will be awaiting a full report from the consultation processes, and a way forward. – SAnews.gov.za