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Mbeki adds his voice to student protests

Former president Thabo Mbeki said protesting students must stop to think about what they really want.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki. Picture: Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - Former president Thabo Mbeki said students who have been protesting at universities must think about the universities they are trying to create, rather than simply trying to destroy things they don't like.

Mbeki was speaking at an event at the University of South Africa (Unisa) that was broadcast on Unisa radio.

Earlier this week, the Tshwane University of Technology was closed for the rest of the month, while several buildings at the University of the North West were burnt down last month.

Mbeki said protesting students must stop to think about what they really want.

"The students must see themselves as part of the construction of this new university that they're talking about, not to say that we're going to delegate this thing to somebody else, and all we'll do is demonstrate. And if they're not listening to us, we're going to burn the library."

And he said there are examples where everyone at a university has managed to work together.

"We should say as this university, this is who we think we're, UWC said long time ago that it was the home of the left."

Mbeki also said he left office in 2008 because the African National Congress asked him to and he didn't want to create unnecessary tensions.