The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande, has on Wednesday condemned the violent protests that continue to disrupt the academic programme at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).
“The sporadic anarchy that we are witnessing at CPUT has got absolutely nothing to do with legitimate issues such as access and the necessary transformation of education in our country. This is about a tiny band of people who harbour criminal intentions and who are hellbent on destroying the lives and future of thousands of students and their families,” Nzimande said in statement.
“Indeed, there can never be justification for violence on university campuses, even where there are legitimate concerns. In that light, it is completely unacceptable that a few people should continue to hold our nation to ransom, including through violence and the destruction of education infrastructure that we badly need to empower students and the next generation, so that our students can play their full role in building South Africa and its economy.”
Nzimande urged authorities and law enforcement agencies to “deal decisively, and without mercy” with all these criminal acts nationally.
“I also urge student leaders who are committed to transformation and the well-being of our country to engage in constructive discussions with authorities and other stakeholders, to deal with the many legitimate challenges which we face in higher education,” he said.
“While the government and universities will always be open to dialogue with all stakeholders, lawlessness and other acts of criminality will never be tolerated.”
This comes after the CPUT was hit by violent protests on Monday, leading to classes being suspended on Tuesday.
A few protesting students got involved in violent skirmishes and destructive conduct before the police intervened and tried to stop the chaos. The students were in the main said to be unhappy with disciplinary action taken against four fellow students by the university.