While the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande expressed concern over the escalating violent protests taking place at the University of Witwatersrand, Wits students vowed to sustain the destruction of properties.
As culled from an SABC report, some students at the University of the Witwatersrand vowed to continue destroying properties until the police are removed from campus.
One of the students was qouted to have said: “management is fighting us, we are fighting management. We are fighting fee-increments and management responds by using police.
“We are registered to be here, we have been screened to be here and have got rights. So the only way to defeat them is to damage their properties so that they are running for a loss (SIC).”
Nzimande noted the calls for no fee increase for all for the 2017 academic year. However, he thinks rogue elements are simply exploiting the situation through acts of hooliganism and criminality for their perverse agenda.
Again, be believes that the calls are not in the interest of the viability of the nation’s universities and TVET colleges, the poor and the working class students.
“The universities and TVET colleges require billions of rands to function and continue to prepare and equip our students with skills for the job market and grow our economy,” he said.
“Therefore, we should not deprive our universities and colleges of the necessary funding, particularly form those who can afford, to make our institutions functional.”
Acknowledging the students right to protest and voice their opinions and grievances, the Minister added that students must be reminded that the destruction of property and the disruption of the academic programme wouldn’t address their “legitimate concerns”.
“As the Minister” he said, “I will not wait on the sidelines for any further damage to property, injuries to students or ultimately loss of life to occur before acting against violent campuses.”
…The demands of students need to take into consideration that government has made massive investments into higher education and that there are other competing government priorities which require funding,” the Minister reiterated.