“The violent protests, which have led to damage to property and interference in the academic programmes in some institutions are wholly unacceptable and provide no solution to student concerns,” Minister Nzimande said.
He said it was most disturbing to see such violent protests enflamed by rogue elements after wide consultation was undertaken on the measures announced on Monday to address the ongoing issue of university fees.
“Government has heeded the call of students by subsiding fee increase in 2017 to poor, working class and ‘missing middle’ students. We cannot subsidise 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,” the Minister said.
The dialogue with students must continue; however damage to property and violence can never be tolerated, he added.
Minister Nzimande reiterated to student leaders that his door is always open for any further engagement and discussion.
However, he warned that such engagements cannot take place in an environment of violence and destruction.
“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.”
The Minister also called on law enforcement agencies to act immediately, within the boundaries of their mandate, against any hooliganism resulting in violence and destruction.
He further called on university vice chancellors to tighten up security and take any measures necessary to prevent any form of violence and destruction of property.
Minister Nzimande and the department are currently in close contact with universities and student leaders to deal with unacceptable expression of discontent.