‘There’s a concerning trend emerging in student protests’

NWU in Mahikeng is one of the institutions that have seen violent clashes during student protests.

The Science Centre at the North West University's Mahikeng campus after it was torched during student protests, 25 February 2016. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

MAHIKENG - The higher education department says it will liaise with State security to analyse what it says is a "concerning trend emerging in student protests".

Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana says he believes the current flare-up of demonstrations at universities across the country is part of a plot to destroy South Africa's higher education sector.

Yesterday, Manana visited the North West University in Mahikeng, which is one of the institutions that have seen violent clashes during student protests.

Manana says the State security department will be called on to uncover what forces are behind the flare-up of current student protests.

"We are going to be engaging with the department of State security to help us deal with some o these matters."

He says the country can't afford to lose its higher education sector, which is the only way many young South Africans can effect real changes in their lives.

"We can't collapse the higher education system. Our African children rely on this system for their own development."

He added it's unfortunate that students at the Mahikeng campus resorted to setting buildings alight rather than raising their grievances through established structures.

Earlier this week, Stun grenades and rubber bullets were used to disperse a crowd of students at North West University's Mahikeng campus, after they disrupted the Student Representative Council inauguration.

WATCH: NW University closed indefinitely after burning of Science Centre


Yesterday, Manana described as unfortunate the burning down of a building NWU's campus.

He said students should have used the channels available to them to have their concerns addressed, instead of setting a building alight.

"We are at pains as the department and as government that those students resorted to this kind of an action."

But students are adamant they weren't the ones who set the building on fire.

Former SRC member, Paseka Molete, said, "People are going around on social media telling lies that students have burnt down their own campus. There is no way we can do that to our campus; we know that this campus holds our future."