Cape Town - 160216 - Dozens of protestors burnt tyres and rubble before breaking into a residence and helping themselves to food. After this, they burnt all the paintings and photos of white people in UCT. Some dating back to the 1940's. Picture: David Ritchie

Cape Town - Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande on Friday condemned the vandalism of university property following a spate of student protests around the country this week.

“The ministry is extremely concerned and strongly condemns the burning of the vice chancellor's office and the incineration of artwork paintings, including the fine work by Richard Baholo, the first black Fine Arts Masters graduate of the University of Cape Town in 1994,” Nzimande's office said in a statement.

“In a similar vein, we condemn the burning of a bus at Wits University on the evening of Wednesday (17th of February 2016).”

The ministry said while it acknowledged the cause of the unrest, students' right to protest “goes along with responsibility.

Nzimande's office also criticised similar incidents of damage to property and disruptions to operations at the University of the North West and the University of Pretoria.

“All of these incidents are unfortunate and regrettable, and must not be allowed to recur,” the statement said.

“We urge Universities to stamp their authority, act decisively and involve law enforcement agencies to apprehend those behind the damage to property.”

On Tuesday afternoon, protesting members of the Rhodes Must Fall student-led movement removed several paintings, mostly of white people associated with the university, from the walls of UCT's buildings and set them alight. A student transport bus and a bakkie were also set alight.

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