The Higher Education Department has linked the massive destruction and burning of public infrastructure at various institutions of higher learning to political agenda and that sources told them the Students Command of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFFSC) is allegedly planning to burn down buildings at the University of Limpopo within days.
The department’s spokesperson Khaye Nkwanyana said important informants revealed to them how the EFFSC are allegedly planing to embarked on a programme to collapse institutions of higher learning.
“We have sources who have informed us that there are plans to also go and burn the University of Limpopo in the coming days.
“According to our sources, the burning of universities is their (EFFSC) first salvo ahead of a programme they are planning to embark on during Youth Month, coordinated nationally with the aim of collapsing the whole higher learning institutional environment.
Nkwanyana added that the Higher Education Department has informed all university vice-chancellors to be on high alert and not to waste time whenever they hear of any threats “… these are worrying times indeed,” said Nkwanyana
He stressed that there was nothing new to protest about as government had been working hard to address student concerns, ranging from fees to language policies, and many other important issues.
The Higher Education Department has in the recent weeks, experienced the lighting of buildings at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) as well as the University of Johannesburg (UJ) which it said the reasons for doing so have nothing to do with the needs of students.
While its not yet clear why UJ’s Sanlam Auditorium was torched, protesting students at VUT demanded the immediate removal of a private security company, known as Mafoko, accusing it of working with criminals who had been robbing students of laptops and cellphones.
However, accusing fingers have been pointed to the EFFSC for the violence at the VUT. The African National Congress-aligned South African Students’ Congress (SASCO) and the Young Communist League of SA (YCLSA) categorically blamed the group for the recent university burnings.
Ever since the EFF entered the political space, they have targeted learning sites as their primary place of anarchy. Whereas SASCO promotes the right of all aggrieved to lawfully protest to voice out concerns, we are gravely disturbed by the sub-culture of destruction of property during these. The EFF has been promoting lawlessness and anarchy, especially at learning sites. This is a calculated move aimed at causing instability in the country, as they have no interest in the pursuits of academic excellence and success,” the organization said
SASCO went on to call on the police to deepen its investigation and arrest those involved at crimes committed at the university.
YCLSA secretary Khaya Xaba on the other hand said the EFFSC was “well-known for anarchic behaviour”.
However, the EFFSC has distanced itself from the burning of university infrastructure saying the allegations are grossly unfounded and engineered by the real perpetrators of these ugly crimes.
“The vandalism and arson at instutitions of higher learning can be attributed to poor protection-service mechanisms and an inept campus control system among other things.
The EFFSC had early this year, confirm plans for more protests, but refused to divulge further information.