Minister Nzimande, the Higher Education and Training Minister has come in defense of the ANC Secretary-General who suggested an immediate shutting down of all SA universities to teach rioting student some lessons.
Mantashe, while attending the South African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) conference on Wednesday, said SA universities should shut their doors for six months and residents for another six.
By doing this, Mantashe believes students would have a re-think about vandalizing university properties and realize how important their education is, once it’s been taken from them for a year; adding that their future is in their own hands.
Addressing this call, the Higher Education minister Nzimande Blade said Mashaba was right in his comments, adding that he believed most parents are also in support of it.
Backing Mantashe’s call, Minister Nzimande said he believed the SG said this out of pure frustration as a concerned parent.
“The way I understand the SG, his call represents the cry of many parents, who are actually just frustrated about the destruction when government has done new things that were never done before, to take interim measures that are a huge relief to those who cannot afford to pay,” he said, voicing out his disappointment at the level of violence on campuses this week.
He says where students’ lives are in danger, the ministry will encourage universities to close their doors.
Not only did the minister support varsities to shut down, he called on varsity management to take decisive action against those caught destroying properties, saying destruction of properties and disruption of the academic program by students does not address legitimate concerns of students.”
He further noted his concerns about the escalating violence taking place, particularly at the University of Witwatersrand, by “rogue elements exploiting the situation through acts of hooliganism and criminality for their own perverse agenda”.
He said the calls for free higher education were not in the interest of the viability of “our universities and technical and vocational education and training colleges” (TVET).
“The universities and TVET colleges require billions of rands to function and to prepare and equip our students with skills for the job market to grow our economy,” Minister Nzimande said.
“Therefore, we should not deprive them of the necessary funding, particularly from those who can afford, to make our institutions functional.”
Meanwhile, the University of Cape Town (UCT) has called on government to find long-term solutions to resolve the fees and funding crisis.
The institution’s vice-chancellor Max Price urged the private sector to assist with tertiary education funding adding that a solution to the fees crisis needs to come by the end of the year and must be incorporated into next year’s national budget.
“It closes its work in June 2017, but a final agreement and incorporation into the national budget will only make implementation possible by 2020. Are we meant to be in limbo until then?”
Max Price said this while academics and students protested outside Parliament yesterday.