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Deputy minister to assess damages at NWU

Mduduzi Manana will visit the Mafikeng campus to assess the damage in the wake of student protests.

The science centre and the administration block at the North West University have been destroyed by a fire during a violent demonstration at the institution on Wednesday night. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN
North West University,North West University Mahikeng
Local

MAFIKENG - Deputy Minister of Higher Education Mduduzi Manana will today visit the North West University’s Mafikeng campus to assess the damage in the wake of student protests. 

Students started making their way back home yesterday after the torching of an admin building prompted fears over their safety.  

Now the university’s management will have work on repairing the damaged building and decide on a date for the students' return.

University spokesperson Koos Degenaar says the institution can’t be reopened just yet.

“We are assessing the situation on campus, but currently we are closed indefinitely.”

The suspended SRC leader, Benz Mabengwane says students hope their grievances will be addressed when they return.

“We are confident that by the time we come back, the university would have resolved these issues.”

Those caught in the middle of the disputes say they are unhappy about their sudden eviction.

“We are supposed to be enjoying our first year, so we don’t know, we just have to go home.”

President Jacob Zuma has condemned the vandalism of universities facilitates but has also called on institutions to address students’ grievances.

WATCH: NW University closed indefinitely burning of Science Centre

Meanwhile, conflicting reasons have been given for clashes between security officials and students at the campus.

While management says protests started suddenly in opposition to a new SRC, students say the institution’s leaders have been aware of their grievances for a while.

The university says students were unhappy about the inauguration of a new SRC after a previous structure was dissolved.

Degenaar said, “The students were not in favour of the appointment of the new SRC.”

But Mabengwane says the issue if far deeper than disgruntlement over SRC.

“Afrikaans is no longer used as medium of instruction in Potchefstroom, that there are no quotas for the admission of black students in Potchefstroom; it is very deep.”

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)

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