Vice-Chancellor of the University of Fort Hare, Professor Sakhela Buhlungu, reaffirmed his commitment towards the renewal of the institution.
Professor Buhlungu spoke out for the first time in public since the killing of his bodyguard, Mboneli Vesele.
Vesele was shot while driving the Vice-Chancellor’s official vehicle near his Alice campus residence.
Buhlungu was not in the vehicle during the shooting.
He personally approached President Ramaphosa, appealing for the safety of the Fort Hare community.
The Vice-Chancellor says the killings are a part of a campaign to drag the institution to its knees.
He says he stands undeterred.
“I am going nowhere. Because so many people have put their faith in me and Mr Vesele put his life [at risk] for me. So I would be a coward. I don’t have any other place to go. The campaign is going to continue. They [are] not going to give up. They want to hit at anybody close to me,” he explains.
Vesele’s death is also a devastating loss for his family.
A family member, Mzukisi Tonisi, says the family is trying to be strong.
“We [are] not coping with this, it is still a struggle to us. But we have to remain strong for [the] sake [of] other family members,” adds Tonisi.
Fort Hare University SRC president, Siphokazi Mbalo also gave words of support to the Vesele family and asked the university’s Vice-Chancellor, professor Buhlungu to continue to stand strong.
“I want to tell you one thing, you said you wanted to start a project of a decade of renewal, and this is the decade of renewal. Change is not comfortable, diamonds are made out of heat. Please bear with us, please soldier on. This is just the beginning, this is not the end, may this not break you but strengthen you. To the University of Fort Hare at large, let us hold it tight, we will get to where we want to go,” adds Mbalo.
A task force has been established by Police Minister, Bheki Cele, to probe the pattern of threats on the lives of university staff.
VIDEO | Minister of Higher Education Dr Blade Nzimande briefs media on threats against Fort Hare university staff: