Nzimande condemns incidents of violence at tertiary institutions

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Higher Education Minister, Blade Nzimande has condemned recent incidents of vandalism at tertiary institutions across the country during the student protests as well as acts of criminality since June 2020, with the cost of the damage totalling almost R33 million.

The Minister has labelled vandalism at tertiary institutions as acts of sabotage that seek to undermine the ANC-led government from progressing access to the institutions.

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At least ten institutions, including the University of Johannesburg, Rhodes University, University of KwaZulu-Natal and the University of Fort Hare sustained damage.

In a statement, Nzimande says none of the acts of violence by students could be justified. He’s called on law enforcement agencies to act swiftly to apprehend the perpetrators and for university Vice-Chancellors to tighten up security measures.

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The Department is still awaiting reports from the University of Zululand, Vaal University of Technology and Walter Sisulu University.

According to the Minister, the following damage and costs have been recorded at universities:

  • CPUT recorded four cases of vandalism with repairs worth R2.6 million.
  • UJ recorded seven cases of vandalism with repairs amounting to R202 826.
  • UKZN recorded damage with repairs amounting to R27.3 million.
  • UFH recorded damage with repairs amounting to R468 000.
  • UWC recorded two cases of vandalism and theft to the worth of R166 007.
  • UniVen recorded three cases of vandalism in 2020 with repairs costing R133 227.

Nzimande says the total cost of repairs, including those that have already been carried out, amount to R32.7 million.

“None of these acts and massive losses incurred could be justified or associated with any legitimate forms of protest and should be condemned unequivocally by all, including our student and union stakeholders. I am also convinced that all progressive stakeholder organisations will agree that criminal and violent acts have no legitimacy in genuine political protests around demands for greater equality in post-school education and training.”

Security and safety measures

Nzimande has called on University Vice-Chancellors to tighten appropriate security measures at higher learning institutions.

He has also called on police to act swiftly against acts of violence and destruction to property.

“The destruction of property is a criminal offence and all those engaging in such acts must be apprehended by law enforcement agencies and face the full might of the law.”