Youth must not to destroy their heritage – Nzimande

2016-09-20 21:13
Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande. (Lizeka Tandwa, News24)

Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande. (Lizeka Tandwa, News24)

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Johannesburg - Young people must protect and preserve institutions of academic excellence and not destroy their heritage, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said on Tuesday.

“It is most disturbing to see such violent protests inflamed by rogue elements after wide consultation was undertaken on the measures announced this week to address the ongoing issue of university fees,” Nzimande said in a statement.

Fees remained a significant income stream for universities, together with government subsidies, and third-stream income.

While he was open to holding talks, these could not take place in an environment of violence and destruction.  

University vice chancellors should tighten security and take any measures necessary to prevent violence and destruction of property, he said.

Earlier on Tuesday, protesting University of the Witwatersrand students clashed with security guards on the steps of the Great Hall on the East Campus.

Students hurled rocks and chunks of concrete at guards, who protected themselves with shields. Some guards flung the projectiles back at protesters.

Windows and glass doors leading into the hall were damaged. Rocks were strewn across the steps.

Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel said 31 students were arrested after they barricaded public roads. The institution would look at CCTV footage to identify those students responsible for disrupting classes and attempting to destroy property, with a view to instituting disciplinary charges.

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA said Nzimande had failed to treat the #FeesMustFall campaign with the seriousness it deserved.

“The doors of learning will remain firmly shut to hundreds of thousands of young, overwhelmingly black, South Africans, who will not be able to afford these fees,” the union said in a statement.
The union said it supported the students and urged them to intensify the struggle for free education.

Read more on:    blade nzimande  |  university protests  |  university fees

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