South Africa’s Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande condemned student’s violent protests over fees saying the government cannot subsidize fees for all students.
Mr. Nzimande warned that the damaging of properties and interfering with academic schedules by the protesting students wouldn’t be tolerated further.
To him, it’s displeasing that the protests erupted after the massive consultation the government went through before deciding on the university fees issue.
He specified that it’s impossible for the government to subsidize fees for all students.
“Government has heeded the call of students by subsiding fee increase in 2017 to poor, working class and ‘missing middle’ students,” he said.
“We cannot subsidize all students in the same manner. Those from households with an income per annum of below R600 000 have been assisted by the gap funding from government as announced this week.
“Those with the means to do so should contribute to increasing university costs by paying fees. Fees remain a significant income stream for universities, together with government subsidies and third stream income,” Nzimande added.
With that, he asserted that the violent protests which have led to damage of property and interference in the academic programs are wholly unacceptable and will provide no solution to student concerns.
“Our youth must be careful not to destroy their heritage, their universities which we must protect and preserve as institutions of academic excellence for them and for generations to come,” admonished the minister.
Nonetheless, Nzimande promised that dialogue with students must continue. He called on student leaders to approach him anytime it’s necessary for discussion.
Above all, he charged law enforcement agencies to act immediately against those behind the violence and destruction of property.
In line with that, he tasked university vice chancellors to tighten up security and take any measures necessary to prevent any form of violence and destruction of property.