Follow us on:

Student protesters cause over R145m in damages in three months

By Faeza
16 March 2016

picture by SAPA picture by SAPA

Damages to higher education institutions during student protests have cost universities more than R145 million, the higher education department said.

In a statement, the department revealed the estimated cost in damages over the period from October 2015 until January 2016.

The most notable cost was at the University of KwaZulu-Natal with an estimated R82 million.

This was followed by the University of the Western Cape with more than R46 million worth of damages. Tshwane University of Technology had over R5 million worth of damages and was the third highest.

The least affected universities were Rhodes University with R250 000, Walter Sisulu University with R351 287 and the University of Johannesburg with R345 000.

The department said a more detailed assessment on costs of damage in 2016 was being done.

Criminal act

It said Minister Blade Nzimande insisted that while protests were a democratic right, resorting to violence and damage to property was a criminal act.

“It is in light of these, that the minister has met with the Police Minister Nathi Nhleko to agree on stronger deployment of police into universities where protests are reported to protect universities’ property, the staff and students from protesters,” it said.

The department said it urged the majority of students to stand up and denounce these acts.

“We are calling for parents, faith-based organisations and society at large, to condemn this new phenomena of criminal behaviour,” it said.

Students have been protesting under several banners including #FeesMustFall and #RhodesMustFall and #OutSourcingMustFall since October last year.

Several university buildings, including the North West University administration building, were set alight during the protests. Scores of student protesters were also arrested during clashes with police.