Higher Education minister Blade Nzimande has criticized the brains behind the massive destruction of property on university campuses in the country. Delivering a keynote address at a University of KwaZulu-Natal graduation ceremony at the Royal Showgrounds, he enjoined parents to actively proffer solution to problems rocking tertiary institutions in the country rather than condoning protests.
Speaking further, the minister slammed some parents who had expressed support for students who engaged in the devastating and violent protests on campuses.
“I want to be quite forthright over the comments made by some parents by saying, this is irresponsible parenting. Today our universities are sitting with a bill of over R300m in damages to universities from the previous financial year, this can educate 10 000 poor students,” said Nzimande
The ceremony attracted prominent men, parents, graduates including UKZN Chancellor and ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize. Nzimande also reminded all and sundry that while the country’s laws allowed protests, destruction of property should not be condoned. He added that universities in the country need transformation, not destruction.
He however applauded the university and expressed satisfaction at students graduating at Masters and PhD levels and advised people seeking post-matric studying to identify with other centres of higher education in the country.
“I am very happy to see so many Masters and PhD graduates and we hope that some of you will pursue the academic route because the average age of academics is 50, and if nothing is done to address this, we as the country will be in trouble in ten years’ time,” said Nzimande.
Blade Nzimande Reacts To Destruction Of Property In Campuses
Meanwhile, report indicates that the recent student protests in South Africa left more than US$30 million worth of damage to property at universities in the country. According to Blade Nzimande, the damage of property occurred at 14 universities nationwide. He also expressed dismay at the extent of the damage to property as a result of the student protests during the 2015/16 financial year.