A file picture of a lecture room at the Cape Town campus of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology that was badly damaged in a fire that was allegedly started by protesters. Picture: David Ritchie/ANA
A file picture of a lecture room at the Cape Town campus of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology that was badly damaged in a fire that was allegedly started by protesters. Picture: David Ritchie/ANA

Vandalism from student protests caused R32m damage, says Nzimande

By Chulumanco Mahamba Time of article published Mar 29, 2021

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Johannesburg - Higher Education Minister Dr Blade Nzimande has condemned the alleged damage to university property and theft by protesting students.

The minister revealed that vandalism cost the state over R32 million.

The Higher Education Department revealed on Friday that incidents of student protests at public higher education institutions across the country amounted to R32 791 397.39 in repairs, that had been completed or were being carried out.

The most recent wave of protests this month was about financial exclusion, student debt and registration fees at universities.

According to the department, Cape Peninsula University of Technology recently reported two cases related to the vandalism of fire extinguishers and fire hoses, with cost sum for repairs at R250 000. There were also reported cases of alleged arson which involved the burning of the prefab structure cluster of classrooms, the repair costs for which amounted to about R2.6m.

Rhodes University reported minor vandalism cases due to burglary or forced entry and the damages amounted to about R5 000.

The University of Johannesburg also reported seven cases of vandalism and repairs cost about R202 826.

The University of the Western Cape reported two cases of vandalism and theft that cost the university about R166 007 to repair.

The Central University of Technology had violent incidents reported in 2020 during student protests on both the Bloemfontein and Welkom campuses and the repairs completed in 2020, amounted to about R1.4m.

Sefako Makgatho University reported six cases of vandalism during student protests in June 2020, with repairs that amounted to about R30 220.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal had several cases of damage to property and burning of buildings due to student protests in 2020. The repairs which were completed last month, cost the state about R27m. The University of Fort Hare had incidents of alleged vandalism in March 2020 and December 2020 with repairs totalling about R400 000, repairs which are due for completion in July. The University of Venda also reported three cases of alleged vandalism during student protests in November 2020 and repairs completed to the cost of R133 227.

Nzimande called on law enforcement agencies to act swiftly against any acts of violence and destruction of public and private property.

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