A security room vandalised by students at Durban University of Technology. File photo by Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)
South Africa is a democratic country and therefore our Constitution gives rights to citizens to protest, but these rights are not absolute and are subject to reasonable restrictions.

While I therefore understand students’ right to peaceful protests, the torching and damaging of universities and public buildings is a crime. It is illegal, unacceptable and has to stop immediately.

As a graduate, I am angered by the actions of those students who participate in vandalising and damaging property.

In 2018, the damage caused by protesting students in the #FeesMustFall movement cost universities more than R786 million.

Somehow, students think the only way to teach a lesson to the government is by burning and damaging property. What brought them to this conclusion is anybody’s guess. How can burning and damaging universities and public property help any cause they are protesting for? The reputation of our universities is becoming more and more tarnished after each incident.

What pleasure could one possibly get out of destroying your own university? There is also no credible deterrence against such acts.

How many times have we read about protesters being sent to jail for burning a bus or pelting stones at government vehicles or damaging public property? In the absence of such deterrence, there is a feeling that anything done in the name of protest will be allowed to fade or the matter be closed once the incidents fade from the public memory.

Daily News