Higher Education Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, has condemned an incident at Fort Hare University in which a group of students sets fire to the foyer of a sports centre.
It is alleged that the incident was triggered by some students’ dissatisfaction over, what they claim, was a congested exam timetable.
Twelve students, who were arrested in connection with the Alice campus incident, are expected to appear in the local magistrate court on Tuesday.
Nzimande says this is unacceptable. “I am very concerned about this because what seems to be happening is there is a small group of students who, when they feel they are not ready, then went to sink everybody’s academic year and careers. Clearly, it is people who were not prepared, then, they just find a reason.”
“The university has been clarifying in public that they had engaged with everybody around exam time. Why should there be a fuss about negotiations because it was known from the beginning of the year? So, this is something that we strongly condemn as the department,” Nzimande adds.
The South African Union of Students (SAUS) Spokesperson, Asive Dlanjwa says, “It is absolutely disgusting. We agree that it should be condemned with the highest level of contempt. We were also very angered by reports that the students could have torched the exam or sports centre at the University of Fort Hare.”
“If students are aware, or have the slightest hint of those who could have been responsible, that they must contact us or the authorities so they can be brought to book,” Dlwanjwa adds.