Nzimande: Students’ grievances are being attended to

Blade Nzimande says there’s no reason why students can’t protest for transformation while studying.

Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande. Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande says government has listened to students' grievances, that work is being done and that protesters must allow the necessary processes to continue without disruptions.

Nzimande and Minister of Police Nathi Nhleko visited Wits University today where they emphasised the importance of protecting historical documents at tertiary institutions.

He says there cannot be a repeat of what's happened at the North West University because if buildings are burnt to the ground, the country loses original documents that form part of South Africa's history.

WATCH: NW University closed indefinitely after burning of Science Centre

The minister says original documents from the Rivonia Trial are kept at the Wits library and records like these need to be safeguarded for generations to come.

At the same time, Nzimande says student issues are being addressed.

"We've released billions of rands to deal with access to higher education. The president's commission is starting its work; let's give those processes space and let everybody go back to class."

Nzimande's briefing today was disrupted by a small group of students, calling for his resignation.

They shouted, "Blade must fall! Blade must fall!"

They believe the real issues that are being raised across the country are not being addressed by government.

Meanwhile, the higher education minister says conflict and disagreements at universities must be resolved through dialogue, with students returning to lecture halls.

He says the involvement of security forces is not government's first choice, but universities need to be protected.

Nzimande says there's no reason why students can't continue with their protest for transformation while still studying.

"We used to toyi-toyi later, saying we can study and strike at the same time."

Nhleko says they're assessing the situation at universities to decide what role officers must play to avoid violence.

#CampusSecurity Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande & Police Minister Nathi Nhleko arrive at Wits library. GN

#CampusSecurity Nhleko & Nzimande at Wits. They say universities hold important records of our history. GN