Pretoria – Higher Education, Science, and Innovation Minister Dr. Blade Nzimande on Tuesday condemned incidents of arson that destroyed the foyer of the Indoor Sports Centre at the University Fort Hare.
The Indoor Sports Centre at the Alice campus, which was used for many activities including the writing of exams, was set alight on Sunday night during a student protest.
Twelve University of Fort Hare students have since been arrested for malicious damage to property and burglary.
Minister Nzimande welcomes the swift response by the university staff and students who contained the raging fire.
The minister said he also welcomes the immediate response by the university management in collaboration with the Law Enforcement Agencies for the identification and arrest of the 12 suspects.
“Government cannot and will not tolerate the destruction of property, for whatever reasons that might be provided,” said Minister Nzimande.
“Arson, vandalism and intimidation will never justify or cannot be associated with any legitimate forms of protest and should be condemned unequivocally by all, including by student themselves.
“I am further delighted that this unfortunate incident did not disturb the academic project and that the mid-year exams are well underway with no disruption.
“The university must ensure that all students who are involved in this incident are also subjected to the university’s internal disciplinary processes.”
Minister Nzimande said he welcomes the decision by university management to closely monitor all examination venues and provide additional security.
He said he also welcomes the efforts by the university to repair the damaged property.